Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) typically occurs in patients with chronic liver diseases and is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Response rates to immunotherapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors, are still very low and likely depend on an inflamed tumor. In this project, we aim to generate a cancer vaccine that can induce inflammation of HCC tumors and therefore boost response to immunotherapies. We will test our vaccine in two animal models of HCC that represent the 2 most common etiologies of human liver cancer. In addition, we will analyze blood and liver samples from patients with HCC in order to translate the findings from the mouse model to the human setting. The results of our study will be used to design future clinical trials for HCC treatment.
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