The overall aim of HEPATO-POC project is to develop an integrated nanobiosensor device that will facilitate the early diagnostics and treatment of liver diseases, including chronic liver failure (ACLF) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at the point of need. The new device will allow the active monitoring of patients in the setting and the early identification of decompensations of liver failure or cancer, enabling the initiation of preventive therapies and avoiding the need for hospital admission.
ACLF is a syndrome characterized by the presence of a precipitating event (viral infection, alcohol intake, products of a damaged liver…) that induce an inflammatory response that lead to multiple organ failure. Early diagnosis of the precipitating events, presence of inflammatory response and presence of ongoing organ failures may allow to initiate early therapies that may impact on the outcome. The detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at its earlier stages as well as the prediction of recurrence are key aspects for the prognosis and treatment of patients. Numerous studies have demonstrated that serum levels of pro-angiogenic factors may provide a valuable tool for the diagnosis and evaluation of outcomes in patients with HCC. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is one of the most investigated angiogenic factors in HCC. Several studies suggest that VEGF may be used as an effective prognosis marker for predicting recurrence and metastasis in HCC patients. Serum VEGF levels have shown good correlation with VEGF tumor expression and highest VEGF values have been found in patients with advanced HCC. The prognosis significance of circulating VEGF has been also demonstrated by estimating tumor metastasis and patient response to treatment.
The main objective of the project will be to develop a specific and sensitive platform for the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with ACFL and early diagnosis of HCC, with the goal of developing proactive strategies to improve their quality of life, reduce mortality and improve their outcome. HEPATO-POC will therefore address a critical unmet need for the effective monitoring and treatment of several liver diseases for delivery of personalized health care.