Update on new treatments for liver diseases

November 21, 2014

Bethesda, MD (Nov. 21, 2014) -- Cirrhosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are two serious liver conditions with limited pharmacological treatments. The December issues of AGA's journals -- Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Gastroenterology -- highlight important updates into treatments for these two debilitating diseases.

For access to any of these studies, or to speak with the study authors, please contact media@gastro.org or call 301-272-1603.

Promising Probiotic for Liver Disease

A study published in Gastroenterology1 found that, over a six-month period, daily intake of the probiotic VSL#3® significantly improved liver function and reduced the risk of hospitalization in patients with cirrhosis. Patients who received the probiotic also had a reduction in the development of hepatic encephalopathy, the worsening of brain function that occurs when the liver is no longer able to remove toxic substances in the blood. There were no adverse events related to VSL#3.

The authors have no conflicts to disclose.

Drug Reduces Liver Fat Content in NAFLD Patients

Publishing in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology2, researchers report that three months' administration of the fatty acid/bile acid conjugate Aramchol is safe, tolerable and significantly reduces liver fat content in patients with NAFLD. The reduction in liver fat content occurred in a dose-dependent manner and was associated with a trend of metabolic improvements, indicating that Aramchol is a candidate for the treatment of fatty liver-related diseases, currently an unmet need.

This research was supported by Galmed Medical Research, Ltd.

Resveratrol Does Not Benefit Patients with NAFLD

Reporting in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology3, researchers find that eight weeks administration of resveratrol did not induce therapeutic benefits in men with established NAFLD, compared with placebo. Caution is warranted for use in obesity with chronic liver disease until further research determines safety.

This research was supported by the Princess Alexandra Research Foundation, the Lions Medical Research Foundation, and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.
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1 Dhiman, Radha K. et al., Probiotic VSL#3 Reduces Liver Disease Severity and Hospitalization in Patients With Cirrhosis: A Randomized, Controlled Trial, Gastroenterology, 147(6): 1327-1337.e3

2 Safadi, Rifaat, et al., The Fatty Acid-Bile Acid Conjugate Aramchol Reduces Liver Fat Content in Patients With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 12(12): 2085-2091.e1

3 Chachay, Veronique S., et al., Resveratrol Does Not Benefit Patients With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 12(12): 2092-2103.e6

About the AGA Institute

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. http://www.gastro.org.

About Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

The mission of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology is to provide readers with a broad spectrum of themes in clinical gastroenterology and hepatology. This monthly peer-reviewed journal includes original articles as well as scholarly reviews, with the goal that all articles published will be immediately relevant to the practice of gastroenterology and hepatology. For more information, visit http://www.cghjournal.org.

About Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology, the official journal of the AGA Institute, is the most prominent scientific journal in the specialty and is in the top 1 percent of indexed medical journals internationally. The journal publishes clinical and basic science studies of all aspects of the digestive system, including the liver and pancreas, as well as nutrition. The journal is abstracted and indexed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences, Chemical Abstracts, Current Contents, Excerpta Medica, Index Medicus, Nutrition Abstracts and Science Citation Index. For more information, visit http://www.gastrojournal.org.

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