EASL-AASLD experts and stakeholders identify potential directions to help combat alcoholic liver disease

By EASL October 11,2017

GENEVA, Switzerland 11 October 2017– A joint EASL-AASLD meeting took place in London, UK, from 30 September - 01 October. Around 170 delegates attended sessions in which experts from Europe and the U.S. strove to reach a consensus on how to treat the most prevalent cause of advanced liver disease and liver-related mortality in Western countries, Alcohol-related liver disease (ALD).

The high mortality and prevalence of ALD and alcoholic hepatitis indicate a glaring need for therapies for the patient population. During the intensive two-day conference, delegates were invited to listen to presentations that revealed emerging data from clinical, translational, and basic sciences studies in ALD.

Conference sessions covered the following seven major themes:

  • Epidemiology and progression factors of ALD
  • Translational science in ALD
  • Clinical challenges in the management of patients with ALD
  • Management and treatment of alcoholic hepatitis (AH)
  • Clinical trial design and end-points: perspectives of agencies
  • Future development of drugs in alcoholic hepatitis: Perspectives of the investigators
  • Future development of drugs in alcoholic hepatitis: Industry perspectives

Alcohol policy

Excessive alcohol consumption is the cause of severe liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis, fatty liver, and cancer. Three decades of evidence resulted in determining that price, availability, and promotion are areas where consumption and harm are driven and therefore are the key areas to target for management at the societal level.

Clinical challenges and patient management

Disparities between research and the burden of liver disease were highlighted during the conference. ALD is complex with multiple risk factors increasing mortality and poor patient prognosis. Aspects of patient management including early diagnosis, use of non-invasive imaging and biomarkers, as well as access to pluri-disciplinary teams were presented and discussed throughout the conference. Patient selection, outcome, and societal impact were some of the challenges that were underscored regarding the liver transplantation (LT) process. The need for international standardized guidelines for LT was debated. Regulatory agencies such as the EMA and FDA contributed to the conference explaining the processes for drug approval. 

Pharmaceutical perspectives

Industry partners were invited to give an overview of their perspectives, plans, and challenges in ALD and AH. It was cited that the complexity of the disease made moving forward with development challenging.

The joint EASL-AASLD meeting on alcoholic liver disease and alcoholic hepatitis was the first of a series of meetings to ensure that progress continues in ALD and AH therapeutic advancement.

View the conference debriefing available on YouTube.
Conference webcasts are available on the LiverTree.