Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Liver disease tackled with dedicated £1m unit

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,” added Professor Thomas.

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 said: “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.”

Laura Gallagher | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Solid progress in carbon capture

27.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>