Viral Hepatitis and Early Detection of Liver Cancer
Research Area: Early Detection
Anna Suk-Fong Lok, M.D., has devoted her career to studying the human toll of viral hepatitis, specifically Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Viral hepatitis and accompanying liver disease are among the major factors contributing to liver cancer, a disease which has been increasing rapidly in the U.S. and worldwide during the last 30 years.
Dr. Lok’s research is focused on the natural history of HBV and HCV infection, risk factors for progression of viral hepatitis to cancer, and the prevention and early diagnosis of liver cancer. She led the groundbreaking HALT-C trial (Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-term Treatment against Cirrhosis) sub-analysis, which examined the risk factors and incidence of liver cancer in HCV-infected patients. Under her guidance, the study also examined the role of commonly used biomarkers in the early diagnosis of liver cancer, specifically AFP (Alpha-FetoProtein), AFP-L3 (Alpha-FetoProtein-Lectin bound variant), and DCP (Des-gamma CarboxyProthrombin).
Her research is widely acknowledged, and she was one of the top 1% most cited scientists in the world for the decade 2002-2012. She has co-authored five editions of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) guidelines on HBV and was the organization’s current president in 2017. Dr. Lok is Director of Clinical Hepatology and Assistant Dean for Clinical Research in the University of Michigan Medical School, and a distinguished professor of hepatology and internal medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine. In addition to many other awards, she was honored by AASLD for her mentorship of a new generation of hepatologists and has received the Distinguished Women Scientist Award and William Beaumont Prize from the American Gastroenterological Association.
To learn more about Dr. Lok, read her biography at the University of Michigan.