• Surgery Department
    The Division of Digestive Surgery
    Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4
    1205 Geneva - Suisse

    Monday to Friday from 9:30 am -11:30 am and from 14:00 pm - 16:00 pm

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Christian Toso
Christian Toso
Head of Division

Medical research aims to discover new diagnostic methods or new treatments in order to optimize the care of patients.

Medical research is divided into: 

  1. Basic research, which is carried out in the laboratories of the Medical School and which consists of experimental work aiming at acquiring new 
  2. Clinical research, which analyzes patient data under the supervision of an ethics committee.

Fundamental research

The Division of Digestive Surgery has a fundamental research group led by Prof. Christian Toso.

This group is particularly interested in liver cancer, also named hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

HCC is the fifth most common cancer in men and the ninth most common cause in women. HCC is associated with a high mortality, representing the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide in 2018. Until now, the incidence of HCC has matched the incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV), but this observation is rapidly changing due to the existence of new antiviral drugs that allow to effectively treat HCV. In parallel, Western countries show a rapid increase in the incidence of obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis  (NASH), which are expected to become major causes of HCC in the near future.

Of all the treatment options and for the appropriate candidates, liver transplantation offers the best outcome for patients suffering from HCC. The group of Prof. Toso aims to explore the mechanisms and possible treatments to improve these outcomes.

Different fields of research were developed in animal models :

  • The role of the microbiota in the intestine/liver axis on the development of de novo and recurrent HCC in adult mice exposed to fatty food, and the impact on the immune treatment of “checkpoint inhibitors ”.  
  • The impact of maternal steatosis on the intestinal microbiota, metabolism and the incidence of de novo HCC in the offspring.
  • The exploration of porto-systemic venous shunts as modulators of portal hypertension and hepatic disease.
  • The evaluation of anti-cancer immunity in the hepatic microenvironment of steatosis and the impact of the microbiota . 
  • The generation of chimeric livers in order to increase the quantity of organs available for transplantation. 

Clinical research

Clinical research is carried out by senior physicians from the Division of Digestive Surgery and focuses on their respective areas of expertise. The publications of the division are available below.

To support clinical research, you can contact the Private Foundation of the Geneva University Hospitals.


Last update : 04/01/2022