Surprising Origins for Rare Cancer

Young Patients Work in Lab Trying to Help Scientists Solve Their Disease
Sanford M. Simon, PhD

It’s been enormously difficult to pinpoint the cause of many cancers—and many seem to have more than one origin. Fibrolamellar carcinoma (FLC), however, is one that scientists thought they had nailed down. A rare and currently incurable disease that attacks the liver of children, adolescents, and young adults, FLC is caused when a small deletion in chromosome 19 causes the fusion of two genes, a discovery made in 2014 in the lab of Rockefeller’s Sanford M. Simon, PhD, whose own then-teenage daughter, Elana, had not only been diagnosed with liver disease a few years before, but was a lead on the team that found the fusion.

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