2021/2022 Kenneth Warren Fellowships

IHPBA and the IHPBA Foundation are delighted to announce that, with the generous support of the E. Alexander Stent Fund (CGF), Bank of America, N.A., Trustee we have been able to award two Kenneth Warren Fellowships for 2021/22.

The 2021/2022 Kenneth Warren Fellowships have been awarded to Dr Aiste Gulla from the Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Lithuania and Dr Gianluca Cassese from the Federico II University Hospital, Naples, Italy. 

Dr Aiste Gulla
Dr Gulla’s study focuses on ‘Establishing a Microfluidic Chip Approach for Early Diagnosis and Prognosis for Cholangiocarcinoma’.

The objective of this study is to develop a novel microfluidic device for early cholangiocarcinoma diagnosis and monitor the efficacy of treatment.

Early diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma is crucial but remains a challenge.  Even with imaging, biomarkers, and more invasive methods, such as endoscopy and laparoscopy, detection rates are low. Novel molecular techniques utilizing biological samples such as bile, blood, and saliva provide the opportunity to improve early diagnosis and predict the response to systemic treatment.

They plan to employ a three-dimensional printing approach to form microfluidic channels and utilize cancer cell capture protocols for early diagnostics developed by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

The study will be led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Dr. Gulla will be working under the mentorship of Dr William Jarnagin. 

Dr Gianluca Cassese
The aim of Dr. Cassese’s study is to evaluate the accuracy of HVPG (direct invasive method), ICG-R15 and LSM/SSM (non-invasive) in predicting the risk of PHLF and hepatic decompensation.

Portal hypertension (PHT) is considered a contraindication in most of current recommendations for the treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). However, the evolution of surgical techniques and patient management has led many centers to overcome these limits highlighting the need for new univocal criteria. Still, no wide consensus about PHT limits exists.

Previous studies analyzing the prognostic role of PHT in patients undergoing liver surgery are based on retrospective data and on an indirect clinical assessment of the presence of PHT. Blood retention at 15 'of Indocyanine Green, hepatic and spleen elastography have recently been consolidated as new indirect methods of PHT assessment, but their weight on surgical outcomes has not been assessed.

A further aim is to evaluate the correlation between hepatic functional reserve (ICG-R15) and degree of portal hypertension (HVPG) and LSM/SSM.

All patients with liver cirrhosis with indication for surgical resection for hepatocellular carcinoma will be prospectively evaluated. The value of the area under the curve (AUC) will be used as an index of predictive accuracy of the aforementioned methods.

This study will be led by University of Naples Federico II and the Seoul National University College of Medicine (SNUCM), under the mentorship of Prof. Ho-Seong Han.

We would like to congratulate Drs Gulla and Cassese on their achievement and wish them both all the best with their projects.

The IHPBA Foundation is extremely grateful to the E. Alexander Stent Fund (CGF), Bank of America, N.A., Trustee for their generous grant funding which has allowed us to offer these fellowships.    

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