A disease with a not-so-familiar name that often leads to deadly consequences: That’s one way to describe nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Nearly 10,000 people convened in Boston for this year’s Liver Meeting, the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD). Among them as an invited guest was John Chiang, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Integrative Medical Science, who made a presentation on NAFLD, a disease that has a global prevalence of 25% and a rate of close to 30% in the U.S. – double that in people with Type 2 diabetes.
NAFLD is also associated with obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
Dr. Chiang appeared along with Vanessa A. Leone, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago on a Special Interest Group program exploring different aspects of the role of the gut microbiota in the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The NEOMED researcher’s topic was Gut Microbiome, Nuclear Hormone Receptors and Liver Fibrosis.
NAFLD can progress to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an inflammatory liver disease with fibrosis, and can develop to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, which is now the #6 cause of cancer death in U.S., says Dr. Chiang, a leader in liver disease research who has been awarded more than $9 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health over the last decade alone.
There is no FDA approved drug for treatment of NASH, but a synthetic bile acid and bile acid receptor FXR (mentioned in the article, based on research from Dr. Chiang’s lab over the last 30 years), obeticholic acid, is in the third phase of clinical trials for NASH.
Dr. Chiang works in NEOMED’s Diabetes, Obesity and Liver research focus area.