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On Wednesday 8th June 2022, the DeLIVER consortium gathered for the first time to hear about the team’s progress towards the aim of detecting liver cancer earlier.

The audience at the DeLIVER event

DeLIVER is a CRUK-funded programme led by Professor Ellie Barnes which is characterising the pre-cancerous liver microenvironment and integrating multi-modal technologies to develop and refine strategies for translatable liver cancer risk prediction and early detection.

Since the DeLIVER programme launched in May 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that in-person meet-ups were few and far between. We were delighted to host the first face-to-face DeLIVER study day on Wednesday 8th June, 2022, in Oxford. Members of the DeLIVER consortium, including research scientists, clinical teams, industry and charity partners, and patient representatives travelled from around the country and overseas to attend this event.

The day consisted of talks highlighting the breadth of the DeLIVER progamme. The first session focused on the current status of liver cancer in the UK and elsewhere, with guest speaker Rohini Sharma (Imperial College London) addressing the barriers to surveillance in liver cancer, Weiqi Liao (University of Oxford) presenting his work to date on a UK population-wide study of liver cancer using the QResearch health records database and Peter Jepsen (Aarhus University) introducing his work on liver cancer surveillance in Denmark.

In session two, we heard about the DeLIVER cohorts, including the prospective Pearl cohort for people at higher risk of liver cancer (Will Irving and Jenni Benselin, University of Nottingham) and the SELINA cohort for patients with small liver cancers (Hayley Colleran-Saunders, University of Oxford). Andrew Blake (University of Oxford) gave a summary of the DeLIVER cancer data visualisation tools that he and his team have developed, ready to integrate the clinical, molecular and imaging data as it is produced.

During the rest of the day, we learnt about the early findings from the DeLIVER team, including in magnetic resonance imaging (Michael Pavlides, Oxford and Sue Francis, Nottingham), risk scores for liver cancer (Hamish Innes, Glasgow Caledonian University), hepatitis B and C as drivers of liver cancer (Philippa Matthews, Crick Institute and Azim Ansari, Oxford), and liquid biopsy-based liver cancer detection through epigenetic profiling (Benjamin Schuster-Böckler, Oxford), autoantibodies in the EarlyCDT liver test (Chris Welberry, OncImmune), the protein-based GAAD/GALAD assay (Daniel Cigoianu, Roche Diagnostics), urinary steroid metabolomics (Jeremy Tomlinson, Oxford) and blood-based metabolomics (James McCullagh and Rory Peters, Oxford).

In her closing remarks, DeLIVER Chief Investigator Ellie Barnes reflected on how much had been achieved despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and her excitement at transitioning to the second phase of the programme. She thanked all the contributors to the day, especially the clinical teams for their feedback on the cohort studies and the patient and charity representatives for their helpful input.

To hear more updates about the DeLIVER programme, see the OxCODE Liver Cancer Research Showcase, the DeLIVER website and the @DeLIVER_HCC twitter feed.

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