Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD/NASH)
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is characterized by liver inflammation and the buildup of extra fat in liver cells not caused by excessive alcohol consumption. The liver naturally contains some fat, however, when the weight of the fat content of the liver is more than 5-10%, the condition is known as fatty liver (steatosis). NAFLD is the most common liver disorder in developed countries with more than 100 million adults and children affected in the United States alone. NAFLD occurs in people of all races and ethnicities, though research shows it to be most common in those of Latin American descent.
Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) is the most extreme form of NAFLD, and is a major cause of cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.
The majority of people with NAFLD have no symptoms, though some may experience fatigue, dull upper right quadrant abdominal discomfort, and/or mild jaundice. Diagnosis typically occurs following abnormal liver function tests from routine blood test. Common findings are elevated liver enzymes and a liver ultrasound showing steatosis. A liver biopsy is the only widely accepted test for definitively distinguishing NASH from other forms of liver disease. Current estimates indicate that about 20 percent of people with NAFLD have NASH.
According to P&S Market Research, as of March 2017, more than 50 potential therapeutic candidates were in the pipeline. Certain factors - including unknown etiology, complex patho-physiology, and high treatment costs - make understanding how associated nuclear receptors respond and react key to further development.
Current NASH research indicates drug and treatment discovery relies on Nuclear Receptor activation, specifically:
DDNews Special Focus on Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis; Date of publication: March 2017; DDNews
Nonalcoholic Steathohepatits Therapeutics Market; Date of publication: 2017; P&S Market Research
Treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Date of publication: May 2006; BMJournal
The clinical features, diagnosis and natural history of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Date of publication: March 2005; Clinics in Liver Disease; vol 8, issue 3