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
Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy