Liver fluke infestation and cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) remain one of the major health problems of populations in the northeast of Thailand, as well as the neighboring countries of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. In Thailand alone, over 6 million people harbor the liver fluke (Opisthorchis viverrini
). Infection with this parasite is the major risk factor for developing CCA. Each year 20,000 people develop CCA in Thailand alone, most of whom come from the northeast of the country.
Cholangiocarcinoma Research Institute (CARI) works under the Office of the President of Khon Kaen University to support national Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) eradication including coordinating with multiple organizations in promoting research and knowledge in this regard since 2002. In 2014, CARI undertakes “Cholangiocarcinoma Screening and Care Program (CASCAP)”, which is the national wide program aims to reduce the incidence of liver fluke infection and mortality of CCA in Thailand. This project involves developing a public health system and innovation for health promotion, disease prevention, disease screening, diagnosis and care of patients with liver fluke infection and CCA using an integrated operating model by collaborating with relevant network partners, nationally and internationally, from both government and public sectors. Importantly, the CASCAP program has successfully negotiated with the Government of Thailand to launch a 10 years strategic plan from 2016-2026 for the elimination of the liver fluke and CCA. Further, CARI is now also in the initiating step to expand the CASCAP program to the GMS area starting from Lao PDR where facing the same problem.
Moreover, CARI has the biggest CCA biobank in the world, comprising both samples from CCA patients as well as from the risk population from regional communities. We have produced more than 500 international, peer-reviewed publications and more than 150 graduate students. The Center is currently heavily involved in multidisciplinary research which is summarized below:
- Novel approaches for risk assessment of CCA and long-term measures for the prevention and control of opisthorchiasis in endemic communities
- Carcinogenesis of CCA caused by infection and inflammation in order to develop prevention and therapeutic approaches
- The development of treatment and care approaches for CCA patients to improve their quality of life
- Development of a new diagnostic platform for CCA in the northeast of Thailand