International Liver Congress
International Liver Congress
September 26, 2020
3 min read

Highlights from Digital ILC 2020

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Healio Gastroenterology presents some of the top stories from The Digital International Liver Congress 2020.

The meeting, originally planned to be held in London, was moved to an online platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Research presented at the meeting included how COVID-19 intersects with hepatology, as well as new data on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic hepatitis, alcohol use disorder and more.

Fatty liver, cirrhosis double mortality risk in COVID-19

Through an international registry presented at the Digital International Liver Congress, experts found COVID-19 in the presence of liver diseases like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or cirrhosis conferred a greater risk for mortality and morbidity.

“From everything that was written in the press when it comes to the pandemic, it was clear that comorbidities play a role in the outcome,” Prof. Thomas Berg, MD, head of the section of hepatology at the University Hospital in Leipzig, Germany, said during a virtual press briefing prior to the Congress. “Cardiovascular risk factors were well known ... but you don’t see anything about the liver.” READ MORE

VIDEO: Younger people with NAFLD, COVID-19 at double risk for mortality

In this exclusive video, Thomas Berg, MD, head of the section of hepatology at The University of Leipzig, discusses data presented at The Digital International Liver Congress on the role of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in COVID-19 mortality risk.

The study found a correlation between obesity and chronic liver disease with mortality in the disease. READ MORE

Millennials, fatty liver predicted to feed cirrhosis diagnoses by 2040

By 2040, researchers predict 75% of cirrhosis cases in North America will be due to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease with a nearly 350% increase in women born after 1980, according to a presenter at the Digital International Liver Conference.

“The burden of cirrhosis has increased substantially in Canada over the past 2 decades, driven by both [hepatitis C virus] and NAFLD,” Jennifer Flemming, MD, of Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, said during her presentation. “We did note concerning trends for alcohol-related disease and HCV-related cirrhosis in younger cohorts, and this is expected to continue to contribute to cirrhosis disease burden to the year 2040. Therefore, addressing chronic liver diseases in North America will require multidisciplinary efforts to prevent and manage not only NAFLD, but also alcohol-related liver disease and HCV in younger generations.” READ MORE

VIDEO: 'Glimmer of hope' in FMT for alcohol use disorder

In this exclusive video, Jasmohan S. Bajaj, MD, of Virginia Commonwealth University, discusses his study presented at the Digital International Liver Congress on fecal microbiota transplantation in the setting of alcohol use disorder.

In the study, researchers randomly assigned men with AUD-related cirrhosis with problem drinking (AUD identification test [IT]-10>8) to receive one placebo (n = 10) or FMT enema (n = 10) from a donor enriched in Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcacea. The primary outcome of the study was safety at 6 months. READ MORE

Multidisciplinary NAFLD approach improves liver-related, cardiovascular risk factors

A multidisciplinary nonalcoholic fatty liver disease approach effectively improved liver-related and cardiovascular risk factors, according to research presented at The Digital International Liver Congress.

Anna Mantovani, from Royal Free Hospital and UCL Institute for Liver and Digestive Health in London, United Kingdom, and colleagues prospectively collected data from 273 patients referred to a multidisciplinary NAFLD clinic from hepatological consultation, cardiovascular risk assessment and dietetic counseling. They followed patients for a median of 18 months. READ MORE

NASH resolves, fibrosis improves in 22% treated with growth factor analogue

Fibroblast growth factor 19 analogue aldafermin showed dose- and duration-dependent reduction in liver fat with resolution of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis in more than one-fifth of cases, according to a presenter at the Digital International Liver Congress.

“Ultimately, looking at the study from cohort 4, the primary endpoint was met. Clinically significant improvements in histology regulatory endpoints of fibrosis improvement, resolution of NASH and the composite endpoint requiring achievement of both are very positive,” Stephen Harrison, MD, medical director of Pinnacle Research, said during his presentation. “Cohort 4 data suggest that the histologic effects previously observed at 12 weeks are durable and potentially amplified with extended treatment.” READ MORE

VIDEO: No ‘hard-to-reach’ patients in HCV, just ‘hardly reached’

In this exclusive video, Joss O’Loan, MBBS, from the Hepatitis C Kombi Clinic in Brisbane, Australia, discusses two studies presented at The Digital International Liver Congress on HCV elimination programs using Epclusa. READ MORE