MAY 25, 2020 11:02 PM PDT

Potential Targets for Alcohol Induced Liver Disease

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) is a fatal condition targeting more than 150 million people. Part of what makes it deadly is the unavailability of treatment besides a transplant. To address these challenges, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have uncovered key molecular steps involved in ALD that may provide targets for drug therapy development.

Learn more about ALD:

The groundbreaking findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and describes how researchers achieved their results by combining RNA sequence analysis of patient liver samples with transgenic mouse studies. Researchers were able to identify two promising potential molecular targets for developing ALD therapeutics-- cGAS and Cx32. The senior author is Suraj J. Patel, MD, PhD, a research fellow in the Department of Medicine.

"Now that we know the key players in this pathway, we finally have drug targets for treatment development," says the lead author on the study is Jay Luther, MD, gastroenterologist and Director of the Mass General Alcohol Liver Center. "Until now, we haven't had any successful leads. Meanwhile, the number of patients has grown."

Before the study, scientists already knew that liver cell (hepatocyte) death in ALD is supported IFN regulatory factor (IRF3) which fuels a strong secondary inflammatory response that affects nearby cells eventually leading to liver failure. However, the question they came up with was how does alcohol activate IRF3 and which pathways are amplified that deliver the disease spread throughout the liver.

"Until now, now we had only few clues about why alcohol-related liver disease progresses the way it does, but this research fills in key pieces of the puzzle," says Patel.

"It is very encouraging to see that we now have evidence-based targets for drug development for ALD," says Luther.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
MAY 09, 2020
Cancer
MAY 09, 2020
Examining a Combination Therapy Against Gastric Cancer
Often when it comes to treatments for cancer, designing or discovering new leads can take years. One of the common pract ...
MAY 12, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAY 12, 2020
Novel Drug Approved for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a therapeutic for treating metastatic non-small cell lung ca ...
MAY 25, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAY 25, 2020
Hydrochloroquine Increases Risk of Death by COVID-19
Researchers have found that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment for COVID-19. Their study found that it lea ...
JUN 23, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JUN 23, 2020
FDA Warns Against Toxic Hand Sanitizers
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen demand for hand sanitizers soar in recent months. As such, the Food and Drug Administrati ...
JUN 22, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JUN 22, 2020
New Drug Shows Promise in Fatty Liver Disease
A scientist leads a team to discover the first-of-its-class drug that can inhibit a key enzyme safely and effectively in ...
JUN 29, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JUN 29, 2020
Staring into Deep Red Light Improves Eyesight
Researchers from UCL have found that staring into a deep red light for just three minutes per day can significantly impr ...
Loading Comments...