Newswise — Cancers affecting the liver and bile ducts will be the target of a new program at Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health to provide multidisciplinary clinical care and rapidly bring important new research to the clinic.

The new program brings together the expertise of many specialists—hepatologists, oncologists, surgeons, interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, researchers, nurses, and other experts—all with a shared goal to institute a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach for addressing liver and biliary cancer. This interdisciplinary team also works in close partnership with NYU Langone’s Transplant Institute to provide patients with this important and sometimes necessary option.

Nationally renowned surgeon and researcher, Theodore H. Welling, MD, has been recruited to Perlmutter Cancer Center to lead the new program. Dr. Welling joined NYU Langone this past July after a prominent career at the University of Michigan Health System, where he served as co-director of its multidisciplinary liver tumor program.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention, approximately 22,000 men and 9,000 women are diagnosed each year with some form of liver cancer. The number of cases and death rate have steadily risen over the past decade, making it now one of the more common forms of cancer in this country and globally.

“A disease this complex needs to be approached from all angles to provide the best possible patient care,” says Welling. “The liver tumor program at Perlmutter Cancer Center will offer patients a highly personalized and efficient treatment model—each patient has a team of experts behind them to address their particular needs.” Experts also gather at a weekly multidisciplinary liver tumor board to coordinate diagnosis and treatment strategies, which includes determining whether patients might benefit from a clinical trial.

NYU Langone Health also is eager to bring the liver tumor program to the forefront of clinical innovation and research. Dr. Welling’s own clinical and investigative work focuses on developing new advances in laparoscopic liver surgery, liver transplantation, bile duct and hepatic vascular resection and reconstruction, and the role of the immune system and cancer stem cells on liver cancer development.

“The development of this program brings together many key players in the fight against liver cancer,” says Benjamin G. Neel, MD, PhD, director of Perlmutter Cancer Center. “By synergistically bridging research and clinical care through the work of clinician-scientists, we will help improve patient outcomes for those with this often fatal disease.”

The liver tumor program will evaluate and treat patients with primary liver and biliary cancers, secondary liver cancer, which is cancer that spreads to the liver, and other liver and bile duct tumors that can be difficult to diagnose and treat. The program also plans to continually launch new clinical trials, offering patients access to the most current and available treatments. Recent and forthcoming trials will specifically enhance the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells.

“The creation of this new program allows us to strategically attack liver and biliary cancer,” Welling says. “Our multidisciplinary, patient-centric approach, integrated with important research and advancement of clinical trial investigations, arms us with the resources and mechanisms to fight back against this terrible disease.”