Amy Justice awarded research grant to study liver cancer and HIV

The National Cancer Institute approved a major grant for research led by Dr. Amy Justice, professor of general medicine and public health at Yale School of Medicine, and Dr. Vincent Lo Re, assistant professor of medicine at Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

Image Amy Justice
Dr. Amy Justice (photo courtesy of Yale School of Medicine)

Justice and Lo Re are the principal investigators for a project that will explore Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) among veterans who are infected and uninfected with HIV. The NCI grant provides $3 million of support through 2021.

The research team will use stored clinical biopsies from veterans with and without HIV to determine if liver cancer functions differently in HIV-infected individuals due to their diminished immune function and greater levels of inflammation.

“If this hypotheses proves to be true, it would suggest that treatment should be tailored differently for those with HIV and, possibly, for others with immune dysfunction due to age, other chronic conditions, or organ transplant,” said Justice. “Equally important, it would also suggest new approaches to treatment.”

Non-AIDS cancers are the leading cause of death among older patients with HIV infection, and liver cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in this population, said Justice.