UF Health clinical trial shows hormone treatment for fatty liver disease reduced inflammation

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 9:28 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -A University of Florida Health researcher has found a hormone he says can reverse inflammation from fatty liver disease.

The leading cause of liver transplant in the U.S. is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease which is primarily caused by obesity. No drug to fight the disease has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In a clinical trial, researchers found 6 out of 10 patients given a hormone that affects appetite had a reduction in liver inflammation. The hormone works by causing weight loss which stopped the disease in its tracks and even reversed the progression. Patients who received a daily injection of the hormone, called semaglutide, on average lost 13% of their body weight during the 18-month trial.

The study published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine was co-authored by Kenneth Cusi, M.D., chief of the UF College of Medicine’s division of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism.

“People tend to lose a significant amount of weight on this drug because they’re simply not hungry,” said Cusi. “This is very promising because it might eventually lead to the first FDA-approved drug for halting disease activity and the progression to the fibrosis that can lead to end-stage liver disease.”

The next step is for the treatment to enter phase three of clinical trials. This would include more patients leading to a better understanding of side effects.

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