Invited Speakers

Below you will find the list of confirmed speakers for ILCA 2018 in alphabetical order. To discover the scientific programme details, please visit the Programme webpage. Click a name below for more information.

Bristi Basu is an Academic Consultant in medical oncology, specialising in experimental cancer therapeutics in the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She trained in Medicine at Oxford University (Prosser Exhibitions) before undertaking clinical speciality training in Medical Oncology at Cambridge. During this time, she completed a PhD in cancer cell biology and drug discovery at the University of Cambridge as the Cancer Research UK Gordon Hamilton-Fairley Clinical Research Training Fellow. She has worked with experimental cancer therapy agents in several early phase trials, specialising in hepatopancreaticobiliary malignancies, both at Cambridge and previously as a Clinical Research Fellow at the Drug Development Unit, Royal Marsden Hospital/Institute of Cancer Research, Surrey. She sits on the UK NCRI Upper GI Clinical Studies Group contributing to the Hepatobiliary subgroup and works in the UK NIHR CRN Early Phase Cancer Studies Specialty Group as Eastern Lead.

Jordi Bruix, MD, PhD, is professor of medicine at the University of Barcelona and director of the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) Group within the Liver Unit at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Prof. Bruix is a member of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) and the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). He founded the International Liver Cancer Association, and was its president from 2006 to 2009. He has been Associate Editor of Journal of Hepatology, Liver Transplantation, and Hepatology, and has been appointed as editor-in-chief of Seminars in Liver Disease. Prof. Bruix is also a reviewer for several journals and official agencies in the USA, Europe, and Asia.

Prof. Bruix has been the principal investigator of studies and clinical trials that have changed practice in the field of HCC, including development of diagnostic criteria and prognostic models and establishment of chemoembolization, sorafenib and regorafenib as effective options. He developed the BCLC staging and treatment strategy that has been endorsed by several international scientific associations to guide management of patients with HCC.

Ann-Lii Cheng is distinguished professor and Director of the NTU Cancer Center of National Taiwan University. He received his MD degree, PhD degree, and his specialty training in internal medicine and medical oncology at the Medical School of the National Taiwan University. In 1990, he was a research fellow at the Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA. Dr. Cheng has been actively involved in basic and translational research in hepatocellular carcinoma and has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles. He was elected as Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2007. He received the national award of “outstanding contributions for science and technology” in 2008 and a national award for academic excellence in 2010. He served as president of the Taiwan Oncology Society during 2009-2011. He was elected as National Chair Professorship in 2013, and has been the founding director of NTU Cancer Center. He currently serves as the president of APPLE (Asia Pacific Primary Liver Cancer Expert Meeting) society.

Alexa Childs is a Clinical Research Fellow at UCL Cancer Institute and Medical Oncology trainee at the Royal Free Hospital, where she participates in the joint HCC clinic. Working within Professor Tim Meyer’s lab, her research has focused on the characterization of circulating tumour cells derived from patients with advanced cancers and she was awarded the ENETS CoE Young Investigator Grant in 2017.

Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo is the Robert and Renee Belfer Chair for the Study of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Professor in the Departments of Developmental and Molecular Biology and of Medicine of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and co-director of the Einstein Institute for Aging Studies. She obtained her MD and PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular biology from the University of Valencia (Spain) in 1990 and 1994, respectively, and received postdoctoral training at Tufts University, Boston. In 2002, she started her laboratory at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she continues her studies in the role of protein-degradation in neurodegenerative diseases and aging.

Dr. Cuervo’s group is interested in understanding how altered proteins can be eliminated from the cells through the lysosomal system (autophagy) and how malfunction of autophagy in aging is linked to age-related disorders including neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases.

Jean-Francois Dufour studied mathematics at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and received his medical degree from the Geneva Medical School. After training in internal medicine at the University Hospital Geneva and the University Hospital Bern, he joined the laboratory of Professor I. Arias at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA where he studied the effects of calcium signalling on bile canaliculus. He then returned to the clinic to complete a gastroenterology fellowship with Professor M. Kaplan at the New England Medical Center, also at Tufts University. In 1997, Professor Dufour established his own laboratory at the University of Bern where he is currently Clinic Director and Full Professor of Hepatology.

Professor of Medical Oncology at the University Paris VII (Denis Diderot), Clinical and Translational Research, Head and Neck & Digestive Oncology at Bichat-Beaujon University Hospitals, Hôpitaux Universitaires Paris Nord Val de Seine, Paris. She is MD and PhD, working on signaling involved in tumour proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and microenvironment to generate scientific rationale for innovative cancer targets. She has been investigator of more than 100 phase I/II studies, published first-in-man phase I trials of sunitinib, temsirolimus, everolimus, and investigates molecular biomarkers of sensitivity/resistance to targeted agents. She focuses on trials in head and neck tumours and gastrointestinal oncology, phase I/II trials with new molecules including molecular pharmacology and translational research. She is a member of the AACR, ASCO, ESMO, ILCA, and part of the scientific committee of the EASL. She has published more than 170 peer-reviewed papers.

Richard Finn is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and co-director of the Signal Transduction Program in the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA. He currently splits his time between patient care and laboratory and clinical research. His research interests lie in the development of molecular targeted agents and biomarkers in liver cancer and breast cancer.

Mathias Heikenwälder, MD, PhD, Germany

Mathias Heikenwälder is a trained molecular biologist, with expertise in immunology and a strong link to translational research evoked by 10 years of work and expertise in a Pathology Institution (Clinical Pathology, University Hospital Zurich). Since July this year he is Division head at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg focusing on the link between chronic inflammation and cancer. Their laboratory aims at understanding the different immune signatures of chronic inflammatory human diseases using relevant mouse models – with the final aim to generate models of chronic inflammation potentially used for pre-clinical research. Thus, they focus on comparative studies of human and animal model tissues, recapitulating human disease on a histo-pathological and pathophysiological level. They engage in classical molecular biology techniques complemented with sophisticated ways to receive as much information from tissue samples through histology (e.g. light microscopy/ immune fluorescence/ FISH/ in situ hybridization), other in vivo imaging techniques (e.g. MRI) as well as through FACS analyses for tissue homogenates. Still at the same time they are also interested in the systemic functional effects of pathologies and the interplay between several affected non-lymphoid tissues and the immune system. Finally, testing several therapeutic compounds in a single use but also combinatorial fashion is one of their goals employing established and stratified pre-clinical mouse models.

Lijian Hui obtained his PhD degree from Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (SIBCB) and had Postdoc training at Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna. Dr. Hui was among the first to characterize the in vivo functions of p38 and JNK MAP kinases in liver tumorigenesis. After moving back to SIBCB at 2008, Dr. Hui focuses on understanding cell identity conversion in liver regeneration and tumorigenesis (Nature Cell Biology 2012; Hepatology 2013, 2016, Cell Stem Cell 2018). His lab was the first to show the generation of functional hepatocytes (hiHeps) from cells of non-hepatic origin and the application of hiHeps in bio-artificial device for liver failure treatment (Nature 2011, Cell Stem Cell 2014, Cell Research 2016, 2017). Currently, his lab is working on new HCC cell line models and hiHep-based HCC/ICC organoid models.

Dr. Robin Kate Kelley is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) with clinical and research focus on cancers of the liver and biliary tract. She is the Principal Investigator for multiple clinical trials of novel agents and combinations including immunotherapies. She also leads the UCSF Hepatobiliary Tissue Bank and Registry which collects annotated tumor and blood specimens along with longitudinal clinical data for translational and epidemiologic research.

Dr. Tae Kyoung Kim is a Radiologist and Professor at the University of Toronto, Canada. Dr. Kim studied medicine at Seoul National University, South Korea, where he received an MD from the College of Medicine in 1991, a PhD from the Graduate School in 1999. Since Dr. Kim moved to Toronto in 2003, he has worked as an abdominal radiologist and an active researcher in the Joint Department of Medical Imaging at the University Health Network, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Women’s College Hospital. Dr. Kim’s major research interest is in cross-sectional imaging of hepatobiliary and pancreatic tumours. His recent research works have largely focused on imaging diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma and cirrhosis-related nodules, contrast-enhanced ultrasound, and pancreatobiliary malignancies. Dr Kim is an author or co-author of 220 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, and has served on the reviewer of a number of major radiology and hepatology journals.

Laura M. Kulik, MD (USA) is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Certified in both Gastroenterology and Hepatology and in Transplant Hepatology. Her major clinical research focus is on the therapy and diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma. She works in a muliti-disciplinary medical/radiologic/surgical Liver Tumor clinic, and is involved in the recruitment of patients with HCC into clinical or pathologic trials. Her major interest is on loco-regional therapy for HCC, both as a primary therapy and as a bridge to liver transplantation, including 90Yttrium radiotherapy and TACE.

Riccardo Lencioni, MD, FSIR, EBIR, is Professor of Radiology at the University of Pisa School of Medicine in Pisa, Italy, and Honorary Professor of Interventional Oncology at the Miami Cancer Institute in Miami, USA. He was previously Professor of Radiology and Director of Interventional Oncology Research at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Professor Lencioni is one of the world’s foremost interventional oncology specialists, known especially for his highly influential work in liver cancer. He has been the principal investigator of several large, multicenter, randomized clinical trials investigating the use of image-guided interventions for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma and the potential synergies between loco-regional therapies and systemic agents. Professor Lencioni has been a leading member of several expert panels developing recommendations for research and clinical management of hepatocellular carcinoma. He is also known for having developed modified RECIST criteria for the assessment of tumour response in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Riccardo Lencioni has been the Founding Chairman of the European Conference of Interventional Oncology, a co-Founder and Chairman of the World Conference of Interventional Oncology, and a Founding Governing Board Member and Executive Secretary of the International Liver Cancer Association. Riccardo Lencioni has published 206 articles in peer-reviewed international journals indexed in PubMed and
numerous chapters in textbooks of interventional radiology, gastroenterology, oncology and surgery. In addition, he has been the editor of nine books. According to the SCOPUS database, citations of his publications currently number in excess of 21,000, for an h-index of 60. Riccardo Lencioni has received numerous international awards for his research and has been an invited or honorary lecturer at more than 500 international meetings or conferences held in 65 different countries.

Josep M. Llovet, MD, PhD is Professor of Research-ICREA in the BCLC Group, Liver Unit, IDIBAPS-Hospital Clínic of Barcelona (Spain), Founder and Director of the Liver Cancer Program and Full Professor of Medicine at the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York (USA), and Director, Master in Translational Medicine at Faculty of Medicine, University of Barcelona. He has been President, Secretary and Founder of the International Liver Cancer Association (ILCA) and Chairman of the EASL Clinical Practice Guidelines of management of HCC. He has published around 260 articles in peer-reviewed journals (citations 51362, total impact factor 3451; h index 102), more than 50 chapters of books, and has delivered more than 500 lectures. He has been recognised as Top-1% cited researcher in 2014-2017. He has devoted the past 20 years of his career studying the pathogenesis and treatment of liver cancer and has received competitive funding for 75 projects.

Tak Wah Mak is Professor of Medical Biophysics and Immunology, University of Toronto; Director, Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. He is internationally known for his work in the molecular biology of cancer and the immune system, and a world leader in the genetics of immunology and cancer. In 1984, he led the group that discovered the T cell receptor, and his published work on the cloning of T cell antigen receptor genes has been cited over 1,200 times.

Tim Meyer is Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at UCL and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at the Royal Free and ULCH Hospitals. He is Director of the UCL Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and Cancer Lead for the NIHR UCH Clinical Research Facility. He was awarded his BSc in Physiology and his Medical Degree at UCL and practised general medicine before specialising in Medical Oncology. He won a Clinical Research Training Fellowship from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and was awarded his PhD in 1999. In 2002 he was appointed to his current post in which he specialises in the management of hepatocellular and neuroendocrine cancer. He leads a large portfolio of clinical trials and runs a translational research program in the UCL Cancer Institute which is focussed on the utility of circulating tumour cells as biomarkers in cancer.

Irene Ng Oi-lin is Chair Professor and Head of Department of Pathology at The University of Hong Kong and Loke Yew Professor in Pathology. She is also the Director of the State Key Laboratory for Liver Research. Prof. Ng’s research work focuses on the molecular pathogenesis of liver cancer, including liver cancer stem cells and identification and characterisation of important genes and signaling pathways. She has established useful pathological and biological parameters with prognostic significance for patient management. Her research studies have provided insight in the understanding of liver cancer development and may help identify potential targets in novel cancer therapy.

She has published more than 300 peer-reviewed journal articles. She is among the top 1% of most cited scientists in ‘Clinical Medicine’ and ‘All Fields’ of ISI Essential Science Indicators. She has received a number of awards including The World Academy of Science (Medical Science) 2014, Croucher Senior Medical Fellowship (2013 and 2005), and University of Hong Kong Outstanding Researcher Award. Prof. Ng is the Chief Pathologist responsible for liver transplantation pathology service at Queen Mary Hospital.

Kim M. Olthoff, MD, is the Donald Guthrie Professor of Surgery, Chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery, and Vice Chair for Faculty Development of the Department of Surgery. Her clinical practice is focused in adult and pediatric liver transplantation, living donor surgery, and hepatobiliary malignancies. She created and co-leads the multidisciplinary hepatobiliary tumor program at Penn. On a national and international level, Dr. Olthoff is a Past-President for the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and is currently on the UNOS/OPTN Board of Directors, and chairs the Scholarship Committee for the International Liver Transplant Society. Dr. Olthoff has an active research program in clinical and translational studies that focus on living donation and liver regeneration, early allograft dysfunction, and liver cancer, and has published over 200 manuscripts, editorials, and chapters.

Fabio Piscaglia is Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Bologna, General and University Hospital S.Orsola-Malpighi, Bologna, Italy. His fields of interest and research include Liver Cancer, Cirrhosis and Liver Transplantation, Ultrasound in liver disease. From 2011 to 2013, Prof. Piscaglia was President of the European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (28 Countries, almost 20.000 members). He is Associate Editor of Ultraschall in der Medizin / European Journal of Ultrasound (IF 2017 = 4.4) and of Digestive and Liver Disease (IF 2017 = 3.2). He is also Director of the PhD Program in General Medical Sciences and Medical Services, University of Bologna.
Articles in PubMed 257 (56 as first author). Total Impact Factor >900 (ISI 2015). ISI H-index 43. External Peer Review for many international journals with IF>1.
He is the winner of research grants from the EC in FP7 and NIH (on liver ultrasound and liver cancer). He is principal investigator or subinvestigator in >10 phase I – III trials for systemic pharmacological treatment of HCC (ongoing). He has advanced personal skills in contrast enhanced ultrasound and interventional ultrasound guided procedures (biopsy, ablations, etc). UEMS Board Certified Transplant Hepatologist and consultant at the Liver Transplant Center at the Bologna hospital.

Prof. John Primrose is Professor of Surgery at the University of Southampton, a post he has held since 1994. He trained in Glasgow and Leeds where he was Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in Surgery. His clinical interest is in cancer, particularly hepatobiliary (HPB) cancer and Southampton is a large tertiary referral centre for HPB disease. It is the largest laparoscopic HPB centre in the United Kingdom.

Jordi Rimola, MD, PhD, is a Consultant of Radiology department at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona,University of Barcelona, Spain. His main specialization is in abdominal radiology, with a focus on the detection of liver cancer. In this setting, Dr. Rimola has a specific interest in the assessment of therapeutic response of HCC to different treatment options, characterization of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and its differentiation from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with cirrhosis. In close collaboration with other members of the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) Group, he has also actively participated in the optimization of functional imaging techniques, namely perfusion computed tomography, and the investigation of the potential role of this technique in the evaluation of the therapeutic response in patients with advanced HCC.

Dr. Rimola is a member of the European Society of Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiology (ESGAR) and the European Society of Radiology (ESR) and reviewer for different peer-review journals including Gut, Journal of Hepatology and European Radiology among others.

Bruno Sangro is Director of the Liver Unit and Co-Director of the HPB Oncology Area at Clínica Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. Over the years his interest in medical research has focused on therapeutic innovation in the field of liver diseases and most specifically primary and secondary liver cancer. He has worked in the Group of Translational Hepatology in the Spanish Network for Biomedical Research on Hepatic and Digestive Diseases, where he is now the Principal Investigator, and he is currently the Director of the Area of Digestive and Metabolic Diseases in the

Navarra Institute of Health Research. Under his collaboration or direction, the Liver Unit and the HPB Oncology Area at Clinica Universidad de Navarra have pioneered several approaches to the treatment of liver tumours including the use of expanded criteria to indicate liver transplantation in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, the improvement in platforms and techniques for the intra-arterial treatment of primary and secondary liver tumours, the early clinical development of locoregional gene therapy for liver cancer and more recently advances in the field of immunotherapy of liver cancer, from peptide and cell vaccination to immune checkpoint inhibition.

Sarah Selemani is an experienced Oncology Nurse working with patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma at Kings College Hospital in London. This involves working as a key worker, from diagnosis throughout treatments and symptom management. This challenging role includes supporting at diagnosis, through radical treatment options, TACE and systemic therapies. She has a special interest in palliative care and management of complications of advanced cancer and support around this and quality of life in cancer care. She is currently studying for an MSc in Advanced Practice and has a BSc in Palliative Care Nursing from Kings College London.

Olivier Seror heads currently the unit of interventional radiology of University Hospitals of Paris-Saint Denis, France. Especially involved in the practice and the development of percutaneous ablative techniques for the treatment of HCC he strongly contributed to the acceptance of these methods as curative options besides liver resection and transplantation. Improvement of energy deposition design into the tissue and of real-time visibility of the target are the two main leading axes of his research. Thus, in first tenths of 2000 years, Prof. Seror developed the concept of no touch ablation consisting to insert electrodes outside the tumour to induce more consistency safety margin corner stone of local sustained complete tumour control. More recently, irreversible electroporation which is non-thermal ablative technique has been successfully used in his unit for the treatment of non resectable HCC in hilar location. More recently, new imaging guidance techniques based on inter modality fusion and virtual 3D technologies have also emerged as a major topic of research of Prof. Seror. All these efforts aimed to improve the overall feasibility of percutaneous ablation, increase the ratio of patients receiving first line curative treatment for HCC.

Peter Schirmacher is Director of the Institute of Pathology (IPH) of Heidelberg University (Germany) since 2004, Chairman of the German Society of Pathology and Council Member of the European Association of Pathology, Board Member of the National Center of Tumor Diseases, member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and Principle Investigator in many national and international consortia. He studied Medicine at Mainz University (Germany) and Molecular Biology at Albert Einstein College, New York, received training and board certification in Pathology and Molecular Pathology at Mainz University and was Professor of Pathology at Cologne University. His scientific interest centers on liver and molecular pathology with specific emphasis on molecular pathogenesis of hepatobiliary cancer; he has contributed to over 600 publications and numerous guidelines mainly centering on these topics. He is coordinator of the Coordinative Research Center ‘Liver Cancer’ of the German Research Foundation involving three University Centers and about 50 Researchers. IPH is Center of Excellence of the ESP for Liver and Molecular Pathology.

Dr. Torbenson is a Professor of Pathology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, where he specializes in GI and liver Pathology. Dr. Torbenson has authored over 250 papers on the pathology of the GI tract and liver, with a focus on chronic inflammatory diseases of the liver as well as primary liver tumours. In these papers, he has described several new pathology entities as well as several new tumour types. In addition, Dr. Torbenson has authored numerous book chapters, including in the WHO Classification of Tumors of the Digestive System. He has also authored or edited four books on liver pathology, including the most recent AFIP edition on tumours of the liver.

Augusto Villanueva is Assistant Professor in the Liver Cancer Program (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York). He received his medical degree from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), and he is board certified in Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Spain). In 2008 he obtained his PhD and received the Sheila Sherlock Fellowship from EASL to join the Liver Cancer Translational Research Laboratory of the BCLC Group, Barcelona (Spain). In 2010, he became the Scientific Manager of the HEPTROMIC consortium, a research initiative funded by the European Commission dedicated to identifying genomic prognostic predictors and oncogenic drivers in HCC. In 2013, he joined the Institute of Liver Studies at King’s College (London), as a Senior Lecturer and Consultant Hepatologist where he served as co-leader of the HCC Clinic and Multidisciplinary Tumor Board. In 2014 he started his position at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai with the aim of developing novel minimally invasive biomarkers using liquid biopsy and studying the impact of intratumor heterogeneity in precision medicine. He has more than 90 publications (>8,000 citations, H-index 40) including articles in N Engl J Med, Nat Genet, Nat Biotech, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, J Hepatol, J Clin Invest, Oncogene, etc. He wrote more than 15 book chapters and edited a book on resistance to targeted therapies in HCC. He serves as Associate Editor for Liver Cancer and Journal of Hepatology.

Andrew X. Zhu, MD, PhD (USA), is Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Director of Liver Cancer Research, Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, USA. His clinical practice focuses on medical and multidisciplinary management of patients with gastrointestinal cancers including liver, bile duct, colorectal, pancreatic, gastroesophageal, and neuroendocrine cancers. Dr. Zhu is an internationally recognized expert in hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma. His clinical and research interests have focused on developing innovative therapies for hepatobiliary cancers, identifying novel molecular markers and genetic mutations, and dissecting the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance to targeted therapy in hepatobiliary cancers.