Clinical Programs - Fatty Liver Disease - NAFLD

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of liver dysfunction in western countries. It is the liver manifestation of metabolic syndrome and can progress to cirrhosis, liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma (Day, 2006).

Currently no effective drug treatment for NAFLD exists and the Identification of agents to prevent disease progression is of high interest. Early intervention in NAFLD patients would prevent the cascade of fibrotic progression to life-threatening liver complications in a similar manner that statins are now used extensively to prevent the cascade of cardiovascular events leading to stroke and heart disease.

NAFLD is linked with the features of metabolic syndrome insulin resistance, central adiposity, impaired glucose tolerance, hypertension and dyslipidemia. Inflammation of the liver is caused by the increased supply of free fatty acids due to obesity and the associated adipose tissue insulin resistance.

Interventions to date have primarily focused on weight loss strategies by dieting, with and without exercise, bariatric surgery; and pharmacological agents. All have failed to produce an effective and safe treatment. Consequently there is an urgent medical need for a drug that reduces liver inflammation and can prevent or delay the cascade of liver inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis and eventual liver transplant.