Liver disease tackled with dedicated unit at Imperial College London
Patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which can include symptoms such as pain in the legs, who participated in supervised treadmill exercise improved their walking endurance and quality of life, according to a study in the January 14 issue of JAMA. The treadmill exercise also improved walking performance for PAD patients without the classic symptoms
Full Post: Treadmill exercise improves walking endurance for patients with PAD
A new £1m clinical research facility dedicated to tackling liver disease, the fifth most common cause of death in the UK, opens today at Imperial College London.
Liver disease death rates are rising in the UK, in contrast to other common diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and the new Robert Hesketh Hepatology Clinical Research Facility aims to provide care and develop new therapies to reverse this trend.
It is named after the late Robert Hesketh, who helped to raise funding for the unit along with Lord and Lady Alexander Hesketh, Lord and Lady Normanby, Mr Abdalla Saleh and many other benefactors.
The unit will accommodate fifty researchers, doctors and nurses from Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, working together to help liver patients.
In addition to providing the best possible care for thousands of patients, staff at the unit aim to better understand liver disease. All of the patients will be offered the opportunity to take part in the unit’s clinical research programmes and some will be able to enrol in its clinical trials. These will address the four main causes of liver disease - alcohol, fatty liver disease and chronic hepatitis B and C - as well as liver cell and bile duct cancers.
Blood, liver and DNA samples taken from patients as part of routine care will be used to develop ways of predicting which patients will develop the severe complications of liver disease.
Researchers at the unit will wage a war on liver disease on a number of fronts. They will examine why some people are genetically predisposed to alcoholism, a condition which is responsible for 70% of chronic liver disease. They will also be looking at the genetic reasons why some people are more susceptible to fatty liver disease than others, and why some of these people will progress from fatty liver disease to hepatitis and cirrhosis. In addition, they will be exploring how factors such as alcohol and diet can exacerbate viral liver disease.
One of the many clinical trials at the unit will investigate whether treating patients who have hepatitis C with warfarin can reduce the scarring in the liver after liver transplantation when hepatitis C has recurred and causes rapid disease progression. The new protease and polymerase inhibitors active against hepatitis C are also being evaluated.
Another trial will assess the effectiveness of treatment using MRI guided lasers and focused ultrasound for tackling liver cancers.
Professor Howard Thomas, the director of the new facility from the Division of Medicine at Imperial College London, said: “Liver Disease is rapidly increasing, particularly in the young and middle aged. Tragically, patients can live with liver problems for several decades with no symptoms, not knowing that they are unwell until they reach the end stages of cirrhosis and liver cancer. It is even more tragic when one knows that at these early stages the problem could have been stopped either by advice on life style or curative antiviral therapies. We need to focus our research, clinical facilities and most importantly the NHS on the importance of screening patients for the early stages of liver disease, when interventions can return the liver to normal. ”
The Hesketh Hepatology Clinical Research Facility is part of the UK’s first Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC), a unique partnership between Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The AHSC aims to bring the benefits of research to patients much more quickly than ever before.
The new research facility is adjacent to the Liver and Antiviral Unit at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, located in Paddington at St Mary’s hospital. It is made up of four new outpatient rooms and four day case beds for investigations and clinical trials.
Professor Thomas added: “Having the clinical and research facilities together, with NHS and university staff working side by side, means we will be able to achieve the goal of our AHSC - seeing the research we carry out rapidly benefitting patients.”
Images that for the first time show bleeding inside the heart after people have suffered a heart attack have been captured by scientists, in a new study published today in the journal Radiology. The research shows that the amount of bleeding can indicate how damaged a person’s heart is after a heart attack. The researchers,
Full Post: New scan shows bleeding inside heart after heart attack
A new study from Mayo Clinic finds the use of the drug therapy etanercept ineffective in treating alcoholic hepatitis, an acute inflammation of the liver caused by excessive consumption of alcohol. The results of the study are published in the December issue of Gastroenterology. Alcoholic hepatitis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.
Full Post: Etanercept found to be ineffective in treating alcoholic hepatitis
An NIH funded multi-center clinical trial found no benefit from “maintenance therapy,” low-dose peginterferon used for hepatitis C patients who have not responded to an initial round of treatment. In addition, the study showed a surprising health decline in patients with liver disease over the course of four years. A Saint Louis University researcher was
Full Post: Low-dose peginterferon used for hepatitis C doesn’t work
People from black and south Asian communities in the UK are not benefiting as much as white people from doctors’ interventions to reduce their blood pressure, according to a new study published today in the journal Annals of Family Medicine. The study looked at the treatment of over 8,800 people with high blood pressure, visiting
Full Post: Black and south Asian people benefiting less from interventions to reduce blood pressure
Having a large waistline can almost double your risk of dying prematurely even if your body mass index is within the ‘normal’ range, according to a new study of over 350,000 people across Europe, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study provides strong evidence that storing excess fat around the waist poses
Full Post: A large waistline doubles your risk of premature death