Rondell P. Graham, M.B.B.S., studies the molecular genetics of liver tumors with a focus on biomarkers for diagnosis, treatment and classification of tumors. His work seeks to understand how liver tumors develop and progress. The long-term intent is to identify targets that define specific subtypes of liver tumors and also targets that can be treated with rational approaches to improve the outcome of patients affected by liver tumors.
Dr. Graham works with a team of investigators using a combination of traditional and novel histologic, molecular and proteomic approaches. This collaborative effort evaluates liver tumors, including fibrolamellar carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatocellular adenomas, in order to refine the understanding and classification of liver tumors.
- To determine how pathologists can provide a better diagnosis of subtypes of hepatocellular carcinoma such as fibrolamellar carcinoma. Currently, the classification of subtypes of hepatocellular carcinoma is based on histologic rounds. This system has many benefits and has served clinical care effectively for some time. However, the key genetic driver of several subtypes of hepatocellular carcinoma and the genetic — histologic correlations of hepatocellular carcinoma are understudied. Dr. Graham is working to improve the genetic-histologic correlation of hepatocellular carcinoma subtypes. This has the potential to lead to improved diagnosis.
- To identify the key biomarkers needed for fibrolamellar carcinoma progression. Fibrolamellar carcinoma affects young patients without underlying chronic liver disease and has an unfavorable prognosis if surgical resection is not possible. A unique genetic event has been found in fibrolamellar carcinoma but the mechanism for tumor progression is unknown. Dr. Graham and his team are performing a comprehensive, detailed characterization of fibrolamellar carcinomas in order to understand how the tumor cells function and progress. The goal of this work is to identify targets that can be treated and lead to improved clinical outcomes.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Graham's research in the molecular genetics of liver tumors, including fibrolamellar carcinoma, is leading to new clinical tests for diagnosis. His work is also contributing to a more complete understanding of liver tumors.