• 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

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Orthopedics in the 2019-2020 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology, Mount Sinai St. Lukes and Mount Sinai West are ranked 23rd nationally for Nephrology and 25th for Diabetes/Endocrinology, and Mount Sinai South Nassau is ranked 35th nationally for Urology. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, Mount Sinai West, and Mount Sinai South Nassau are ranked regionally.

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