Let’s talk about a disease called NASH, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. There is no treatment.
I’m Dr. Jeff Kingsley and welcome to another edition of Riding in Cars with Researchers. NASH is a disease without a therapy. It’s a situation where there’s an inflammatory response in your liver. Type 2 diabetes and obesity are our large contributors to this, and sometimes you can have obesity and Type 2 diabetes and you’ll never develop liver disease. And sometimes, all of a sudden, you will develop an inflammatory response that will cause scar tissue formation in your liver and that can lead to liver failure. That’s kind of what NASH is and there’s no therapy. And because there’s no therapy, doctors under-diagnosed, because what’s the point in diagnosing you? If I diagnose you, there’s nothing I can do about it anyway other than to tell you to lose weight.
So doctors will diagnose what’s called fatty liver disease a lot. But they don’t move forward and diagnose NASH with the same vigilance that they should because there’s no next step. So what are we doing and what’s my recommendation for what the rest of the world should do? Step up! Step up to the challenge because that’s how medical advancement happens. Somebody needs to take the first step, and then there’s a second step and a third step. Sometimes the therapy may come first and then everyone rushes to make the diagnosis. Sometimes you have to rush to make the diagnosis and then therapy will come. We’re investing in ultrasound machines that are finely tuned to be able to diagnose NASH. By diagnosing more NASH, we will be able to conduct more NASH research. By conducting more NASH research, we will be on the leading edge in the creation of mesh therapies. And by creating NASH therapies, more patients will get the diagnosis, more patients will be under treatment, and it won’t progress to cirrhosis. So there’s my call to action – step up to the challenge, invest in what’s to make the diagnosis in your community, participate in NASH research, – whether you’re a clinician, a research site, or a patient – and let’s develop some NASH therapies so that we can lower the number of people who have to go through cirrhosis, liver transplant, and all that comes with it.
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