Hepatology has a longstanding research record in viral hepatitis, which is both nationally and internationally recognised. This encompasses studies in molecular virology, biology and immunology, as well as clinical studies involving trials of antiviral therapy and non-invasive methods of assessing liver fibrosis. The Section has established programmes on viral, alcohol and non-alcohol related steatohepatitis, and on primary liver cancer (hepatocellular cancer and cholangiocarcinoma).
Hepatology research themes
Our research encompasses two important aspects of immunity in liver disease: 1) the exploration of the mechanisms of immune paresis leading to increased susceptibility to infection in liver failure, and 2) the regulation of inflammatory responses within the liver in response to injury.
Alcohol and Fatty Liver
Despite being the most important cause of cirrhosis there has been little research activity in alcoholic liver disease in the UK. We are running trials in alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis to improve treatment and survival. Current research in fatty liver disease is focused on the role of the gut microbiome and translocation of bacterial products into the portal vein.
Hepatology themes row 2
Prevention of Liver Fibrosis and Cancer in Africa
Our studies in West Africa show that it is feasible and cost-effective to screen and treat people with viral hepatitis in the community. Data from this study is now being used to build epidemiological models to predict the impact of various interventions towards a goal of elimination.
There are a number of clinical trials in both HBV and HCV infection in progress. We are evaluating a number of approaches to identifying patients with these infections in different clinical scenarios. Basic science research groups have developed a novel method for propagating the viruses in cell culture.