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)
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 academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai is a national and international source of unrivaled education, translational research and discovery, and collaborative clinical leadership ensuring that we deliver the highest quality care—from prevention to treatment of the most serious and complex human diseases. The Health System includes more than 7,200 physicians and features a robust and continually expanding network of multispecialty services, including more than 400 ambulatory practice locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of the Top 20 Best Hospitals in the country and the Icahn School of Medicine as one of the Top 20 Best Medical Schools in country. Mount Sinai Health System hospitals are consistently ranked regionally by specialty and our physicians in the top 1% of all physicians nationally by U.S. News & World Report.