Published On: Sat, Mar 23rd, 2019

Research identifies new drug for treating liver diseases

Washington: According to a recent study, the researchers have found a drug that can successfully treat potentially life-threatening liver diseases like Cirrhosis.

Liver disease can be inherited (genetic) or caused by a variety of factors that damage the liver, such as viruses and alcohol use. Obesity is also associated with liver damage.

The study was published in the Journal of Gastroenterology. While there are drug therapies to treat some forms of liver diseases like Hepatitis C and Autoimmune Hepatitis. But for conditions like portal hypertension, where there is an increase in pressure within the portal vein that carries blood from abdominal organs to the liver. This is associated with cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases.

According to the researchers, a drug called Sivelestat may effectively lower portal hypertension, improving symptoms and outcomes for those patients. The study results were obtained from mouse models but have since been confirmed in liver samples from humans.

“This was an exciting confirmation of our findings and their applicability to human disease. Sivelestat has been safely used in humans with acute lung injury and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. This suggests that Sivelestat and similar drugs constitute a potential means to decrease portal hypertension in patients with chronic liver disease,” said co-author Vijay Shah.

The study showed that deposits of fibrin, microvascular blood clots, contributed to portal hypertension, and inflammatory cells known as neutrophils contributed to the formation of fibrin. By inhibiting neutrophil function with Sivelestat, they were able to decrease portal hypertension.

The results were verified in two different models of chronic liver disease.

“Neutrophils had not previously been identified as significant drivers of portal hypertension,” said co-author Moira Hilscher.

Because of the increasing prevalence of advanced liver disease due to alcohol and obesity, this study paves the way for developing new drugs and repurposing of existing compounds to target inflammation in the liver.


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