In a study conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Cancer Institute, scientists report that an injectable hormone ‘tesamorelin’ works to reduce liver fat and prevent liver fibrosis (scarring) in HIV patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease: A microscopic image of liver tissue affected by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The large and small white spots are excess fat droplets filling liver cells (hepatocytes). Credit: Dr. David Kleiner, NCI
"Many people living with HIV have overcome significant obstacles to live longer, healthier lives, though many still experience liver disease," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "It is encouraging that tesamorelin, a drug already approved to treat other complications of HIV, may be effective in addressing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease."
Learn more about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD:
"Our hope is that this intervention may help people living with HIV, as well as benefit HIV-negative people with liver abnormalities," said Dr. Hadigan. "Further research may inform us of the potential long-term benefits of this approach and develop formulations that can benefit everyone with liver disease, regardless of HIV status."
Tesamorelin, also known as Egrifta, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010 and works to reduce excess fat around the abdomen. Findings were published in The Lancet HIV.
"Because tesamorelin proved effective in treating abnormal fat build-up in the abdomens of people in the context of HIV and related medication use, we hypothesized that the drug might also reduce fat that accrues in the liver and causes damage in a similar population," said Steven K. Grinspoon, M.D., Chief of the Metabolism Unit at MGH.
Source: Science Daily