Grace Gawler - Helping You Navigate the Cancer Maze

Gallbladder Cancer

Outsmart Gallbladder Cancer with Genomic Testing &  Cell-based Immunotherapy

Gallbladder or bile duct cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the bile ducts.  Primarily; gallbladder cancer is known to have an inflammatory cause. Advanced gall bladder cancer (also called cholangiocarcinoma) shows decreased response to conventional therapies like chemotherapy and radiotherapy; it is often diagnosed when advanced and stage 4. Surgical resection is the most common approach.

The Grace Gawler InstituteTherefore, with limited treatment available for gallbladder cancer; our first recommendation is Genomic Testing.

Because gallbladder cancer is a rare cancer in Australia & New Zealand, genomic diagnostic testing can assist especially if the origin of the tumour is uncertain. Sometimes other tumours can spread across the liver & in & around bile ducts, so diagnosis by usual means can be difficult.

There are a variety of genomic tests that can be individually tailored to your needs. 

For more information about Genomic testing 

Cell Based Immunotherapy - Good news for gallbladder cancer patients

The Grace Gawler InstituteOnce in-depth DNA testing has been performed; you may be wise to consider cell-based immunotherapy as a value add to your treatment protocol.

Our acclaimed Immunology Professor (MD PhD) and his team report successful outcomes in this cancer type which most times, has a poor prognosis.

He and his team have successfully treated several Grace Gawler Institute patients. We currently have 2 long term survivors of gallbladder cancer in our patient files.

They have also published a case of stage IV gallbladder cancer in medical journals.  As often occurs, this patient was progressing despite surgical resection and several cycles of chemotherapy. Cell-based immunotherapy has the advantage of being minimally invasive – yet it can powerfully restore your own immune system. After three infusions of cell-based immunotherapy (made from the patient’s own immune system), an improvement of the quality of life and sustained good general condition of the patient was noticed for more than 6 months. After the addition of cell-based immunotherapy, there was a substantial decrease in CA 19-9 tumour marker from 2938.22 U/mL before treatment to 511 U/mL, 5 months after treatment (treatment with cell-based personalised immunotherapy).

Cell-based immunotherapy offers no adverse reactions/side effects.

Gallbladder cancer is a difficult cancer to treat.

A Survivorship Navigation Care Plan can be a first step in educating yourself about navigating life during & after gallbladder cancer and helping you communicate knowledgeably with Grace, your cancer Navigator and other healthcare providers.

Bile duct cancer – Risk factors & known causes 

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  • People who have chronic (long-term) inflammation of the bile ducts have an increased risk of developing bile duct cancer.
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis (a progressive disease in which the bile ducts become blocked by inflammation and scarring).
  • Chronic ulcerative colitis.
  • Cysts in the bile ducts (cysts block the flow of bile and can cause swollen bile ducts, inflammation, and infection).
  • Infection with a liver fluke parasite, which can be an issue for those who have frequently travelled in Asia and eaten local delicacies; especially raw fish dishes. Tourists – before travel check DFAT website for more information
  • Other known causes are: Bile duct stones, viruses such as Hep C and Hep B, genetic influences, Cirrhosis of liver, asbestos exposure in some people; radiation exposure.
  • Cigarette smoking and some environmental toxins have also been implicated as causes of bile duct cancer.   
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