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Research News Updates and Blogs

CLDF funded research results in new blood test for NAFLD

Research funded by CLDF has resulted in a blood test which could become clinical practice within five years, reducing the need for a liver biopsy in the management of paediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease affects around one in 10 children and is the most common paediatric liver disorder. It can progress to advanced scarring (cirrhosis), liver failure, and liver cancer. Despite this, the natural history of the condition is poorly understood and there are currently no approved treatments or drugs in clinical trials for children.

Currently, if a doctor is concerned a child has scarring or inflammation of the liver, they may recommend a liver biopsy. However, biopsy is invasive, resource intensive and carries a small risk of significant complications. Therefore, the availability of an accurate and non-invasive marker to replace the need for liver biopsy is a major breakthrough.

This research is the first major finding to be reported from the European Paediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Registry, an international collaboration of 11 specialist and non-specialist centres in six European countries, led by Dr Jake Mann who commented:

“It is early days, but the results of the research are promising and could help shift the way we understand and manage paediatric NAFLD: saving resources, time, and stress for children and their parents.”

Alison Taylor, Chief Executive of CLDF added: “it is wonderful to see such progression in the development of non-invasive tests which will positively impact children, young people and their families at a time that is incredibly stressful and we’re proud to be supporting this initiative. We look forward to hearing further developments from the European Paediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Registry.”

The research findings were announced at the Annual Meeting of the European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and the full press release is available here

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