Precision medicine in Scotland

Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Vice Principal of the University of Glasgow presented at the TEDxGlasgow 2019 event recently, highlighting the role she sees for Scotland in precision medicine.  We have such a unique opportunity here, with our unified community health identifier (CHI) number that allows us to pull together health records of every individual from pre-birth to death, and the interactions between our academic institutions and the NHS.  Implementing precision medicine will impact everyone in the future, making our treatments more effective, while costing society less.  This is something Scotland can be immensely proud of.

Check it out here:

Fibroscan used to identify NAFLD in 24 year olds

Investigations using transient elastography (Fibroscan) have shown that >20% of young adults in the ‘Children of the 90s’ longitudinal study have fatty deposits on the liver, or steatosis, indicating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.  Half of those were classified as severe.  ~10% of those with NAFLD also had fibrosis, scar tissue in the liver.  Severe scarring can cause cirrhosis.

This has the potential to cause major problems in the future, and public health awareness campaigns are needed to alter behaviours which will impact health in the future.

Newspaper article here:

NAFLD in young adults

University of Bristol researchers presented data at the International Liver Congress 2019 in Vienna that as many as 20% of young adults in the study (mean age 24 years) had steatosis, up from a prevalence of 2.5% in the same cohort in their teenager years.  2.4% of individuals in the cohort had some degree of fibrosis, and 0.3% had fibrosis evaluations equivalent to stage 4 (F4) fibrosis.

This study indicates a requirement for greater public health awareness of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in young adults in the UK.

See the public release here:

Jecure Threapeutics is acquired by Genetech

Jecure Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company with novel drug discovery programs targeting serious inflammatory diseases will be acquired by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. Jecure Therapeutics is focused on the discovery of novel therapeutics for the treatment of NASH and liver fibrosis.

Genentech will obtain full rights to Jecure’s entire preclinical portfolio of NLRP3 inhibitors.

The Use of LiverMultiScan to identify, stratify and predict clinical outcomes of NASH.

The utility of imaging biomarkers in NASH is the focus of several abstracts accepted for presentation at the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease’s The Liver Meeting® 2018, November 9-13, 2018 .  Three abstracts – two selected as Posters of Distinction – highlight the use of Perspectum Diagnostics’ LiverMultiScan to identify, stratify and predict clinical outcomes of NASH.

The study, “Liver cT1 predicts clinical outcomes in patients with chronic liver disease, equivalent to liver biopsy,” demonstrates the performance of multiparametric MRI imaging in predicting clinical outcomes in liver disease. Research demonstrated further evidence that corrected T1 (cT1) can predict clinical outcomes in a larger cohort of patients with varying liver disease etiologies. Patients underwent multiparametric imaging (T1, T2* mapping (iron) and MR spectroscopy (fat). LiverMultiScan software was used to obtain cT1 maps of the liver and calculate the mean cT1 value from three regions of interest. cT1 significantly differentiated between all-cause mortality, liver-related mortality and liver event-free survival. Results showed that cT1 was as predictive for liver-related events as histology.

“Identifying high risk NASH patients using reliable, cost-effective non-invasive markers is critical for streamlining care pathways, enriching populations for clinical trials, and eventually prioritising patients for approved therapies. Multiparametric MRI, combining key phenotypic measurements in a single test, has the potential to fulfil a number of diagnostic purposes,” said Professor Jonathan Fallowfield, University of Edinburgh.

Professor Fallowfield is the clinical lead for the Innovate UK funded NASH Data Commons project