• Press Release

Mount Sinai Researchers Highlight New Mechanisms and Therapeutic Strategies for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Nature Medicine

Hepatology’s next big challenge: non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)

  • New York, NY
  • (July 02, 2018)

A new review published online in Nature Medicine highlights cutting-edge research associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its more advanced, and worrisome, form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

“When we think about emerging concerns in the field of hepatology, we think of NASH,” says Scott Friedman, MD, Chief of the Division of Liver Diseases, Dean for Therapeutic Discovery, and Irene and Dr. Arthur Fishberg Professor of Medicine (Liver Diseases) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “The medical community is just beginning to recognize the threat of fatty liver disease, which afflicts tens of millions of Americans, often progresses quietly, and may only become apparent at an advanced stage.”

In the United States, NAFLD cases are projected to expand from approximately 83 million in 2015 to 101 million in 2030. Dr. Friedman estimates that up to 20 million Americans have NASH. 

“We expect to see increasing numbers of patients with cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease necessitating liver transplantation, and an alarming rise in hepatocellular carcinoma. We will also witness a significant economic effect—one that we have not yet wrapped our arms around.  Practitioners agree that the economic ramifications could be dramatic,” says Dr. Friedman. “It is likely that within three years, NASH will supplant hepatitis C as the most common indication for liver transplantation.”

The Nature Medicine study reviews recent insights into the underlying mechanisms of fatty liver disease, which has seen explosive growth as a result of escalations in both obesity and type 2 diabetes associated with “metabolic syndrome,” a constellation of abnormalities that can lead to organ damage in the heart, blood vessels, and liver, among others.

“The study addresses insights into the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of this growing threat,” says Dr. Friedman. “This review provides a thorough update for scientists and caregivers as we seek to improve diagnosis and treatment of a disease that often sneaks up on patients when treatment options may be more limited.”

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: It is consistently ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools," aligned with a U.S. News & World Report "Honor Roll" Hospital, and top 20 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding and top 5 in the nation for numerous basic and clinical research areas. Newsweek’s “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals” ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital as No. 1 in New York and in the top five globally, and Mount Sinai Morningside in the top 20 globally.

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