Why liver disease


Mortality rates due to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver are on an alarming upward trajectory, with rising death rates in the United States and around the world. More than 600,000 people in the U.S. alone have liver cirrhosis, and almost 4 million have earlier forms of diagnosed liver disease and may join their ranks over time. Despite the staggering number of people affected by this deadly disease and significant advances in treating some liver diseases such as hepatitis C, little progress has been made to address the life-threatening complications of end-stage liver disease. New interventions to manage the morbidity and mortality of end-stage liver disease are needed urgently.

In people with end-stage liver disease, the liver’s natural ability to regenerate itself is compromised to the point where the body can no longer create and maintain a sufficient number of hepatocytes needed to conduct vital biosynthetic and detoxifying functions. This results in life-threatening disease complications and patient suffering.

While liver transplantation is a viable and curative treatment option for some patients, the serious risks and complications of the procedure make many people ineligible for transplant. Furthermore, the availability of donor livers is far outstripped by the number of patients who could potentially benefit from a transplant. As a result, only about 7,000 patients receive liver transplants in the U.S. year, while there are around 40,000 deaths per year due to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.


The liver has numerous synthetic and detoxifying functions necessary for life.

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