Professor Philip Newsome

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is fast becoming the scourge of the Western world and is directly related to the general population becoming obese or overweight. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the more serious form of NAFLD and can ultimately increase the risk of total liver failure which means a transplant is required, but if one is not found, it will lead to death.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Birmingham Liver Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) co-ordinated a ground-breaking clinical trial relating to NASH, which was the first of its type in the world to look at a specific drug treatment. The drug was Liraglutide (Victoza®) which is manufactured and licenced by Novo-nordisk and is currently licenced for the treatment of Type II diabetes. It is administered in the form of an injection which the patient self-injects, which means the treatment could be administered at home.

After 48 weeks of treatment the livers of some patients actually started to recover from the damage caused by the fat which had been deposited in the liver and individual cells. Additionally, patients in the active treatment group showed a higher level of weight loss whilst receiving medication. However, once they stopped taking the medication the majority of patients started to regain the weight they had lost.

The trial was led by Professor Philp Newsome and the impressive results were presented at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) in April 2015, this is one of the largest conferences in the world specialising in the liver and brings together the finest experts in the field.  The trial results attracted considerable press interest at EASL. 

To read a more detailed overview of this trial, please open this PDF 

Contact details for information on clincial trials:  LiverResearch@contacts.bham.ac.uk