DDW News

Researchers examining role of microbiome in liver disease progression

Rohit Loomba, MD
Rohit Loomba, MD

During Sunday’s AASLD symposium Role of Gut Microbiome in NAFLD and Progression of Fibrosis, an expert panel of clinician-scientists will discuss recent research that is shedding light on the gut microbiome’s impact on hepatobiliary disease.

The presenters will summarize preclinical data on the role of the gut microbiome in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), links between the gut microbiome and preclinical and clinical hepatocellular carcinoma, and clinical data that demonstrate an association between the gut microbiome in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) patients and the progression of fibrosis.

“This is an important, exciting and emerging area of research that’s beginning to give us strong clues about how the gut microbiome could change as disease progresses from mild NAFLD to NASH to advanced fibrosis to decompensation,” said Rohit Loomba, MD, professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology and founding director of the NAFLD Research Center at the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Loomba will co-chair of the symposium with Kiran Bambha, MD, MSc, associate professor of gastroenterology, medical director of the University of Washington Live Donor Liver Transplant Program and director of the Liver Clinical Trials Unit, Seattle.

New data showing changes in the gut microbiome in the early stages of fibrosis suggest the potential to identify biomarkers that could be used in screening tests to diagnose advanced fibrosis, Dr. Loomba said.

“We have a lot yet to learn but we know the gut microbiome plays an important role in the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis and the progression of fibrosis, especially in NAFLD,” he said. “It has a specific signature that is distinct. In the future we might think about how we could model it out to either diagnose mild disease or possibly even reverse advanced disease.”

Please refer to the DDW Mobile App or the Program & Exhibits section for the time and location of this and other DDW® events.

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