9 August 2018
A new study by scientists from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel calls for a new gold standard in research to treat non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an obesity-linked chronic liver disease impacting millions of people of all ages worldwide. The disease can progress to liver cancer if untreated, creating a massive strain on an already overburdened healthcare system. The study, published in Pharmacological Research, proposes a human-specific roadmap to better understand the biological mechanisms behind NASH, a crucial missing link in the effort to develop effective, and urgently-needed, treatments for the disease.
Dr Robim Rodrigues and Prof Tamara Vanhaecke of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, lead authors on the study, commented that “In vitro models that reflect population diversity and specific mechanisms of the disease are already valuable tools today.” Modern techniques, including transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, are rapidly becoming more reliable and may therefore provide insights into the mechanistic background of NASH.” Dr Rodrigues explains that several drugs in development for NASH have been tested using in vitro models, clearly indicating the value of these systems in NASH R&D. He is optimistic that further development of predictive, human-based tools will provide a more cost-effective and reliable methodology for much-needed drug development for NASH liver disease. [Read more…]