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New Drug Shows Efficacy in Slowing Down Fatty Liver Disease

Jun 16, 2020 by Kamran Ahmed

There isn't any medication that can cure the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, but a new study has found an antisense drug that showed promising results in slowing or reducing the disease's effects.


Human trials conducted by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine at 16 different sites in Canada, Poland, and Hungary have proven to be a breakthrough in the treatment of fatty liver disease.


The trials lasted for over three months and involved 44 volunteers. The participants were administered IONIS-DGAT2, an antisense inhibitor used to inhibit gene expression. After 13 weeks, the scientists tested the levels of fatty liver in the participants and found it to be considerably lower in the subjects given the inhibitor than those given placeboes. This improvement happened without any increase in fat, enzyme, or sugar levels in the participants' blood.


"NAFLD wasn't even recognized as a disease three decades ago; now it is alarmingly prevalent, affecting roughly one-quarter of all Americans and emerging as one of the leading causes for liver transplant in the United States," said MD Rohit Loomba, the study's lead author and professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology at UC San Diego School of Medicine.  


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a group of medical conditions that occurs when an excess amount of fat is gathered in a person's liver without consuming alcohol. Most people suffering from the disease show no severe symptoms upfront, but physical examinations often show an enlarged liver. However, children with the condition may complain of more noticeable symptoms, such as stomach pain, discoloration of the skin, or fatigue.


Fatty liver disease often remains undiagnosed among adults and reaches critical stages by the time it is diagnosed, leaving doctors with little treatment choices. In worst-case scenarios, the patients are required to get a liver transplant. 



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