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Research Projects

British Liver Trust is committed to funding and participating in research whenever possible but can only do this with voluntary funding. We have funded, and continue to fund, a wide range of research projects. Details of research projects funded by or with significant involvement from the British Liver Trust are listed below by subject area with reports are available to download where indicated.

Viral Hepatitis

Antigen Presentation in HBV Infection
Miss S Shanmuganathan – St Mary’s Hospital, London
Final report

Creation of Hepatitis B (HBV) Research Network and Biobank
Led by Medical Research Council
Ongoing project to create an equivalent Biobank for Hepatitis B research as currently already exists for Hepatitis C.

Alcohol

Alcohol Research Fellowship
Dr Nick Sheron – University of Southampton, School of Medicine
Final report

UK Alcohol Strategy
Professors Gerard Hastings and Linda Bauld – University of Stirling
(Jointly funded with Cancer Research UK)
Stirling Report Health First

Integration of Palliative and Supportive Care in the Management of Alcohol Related Liver Disease (ALD)
Dr Ben Hudson – University Hospitals, Bristol
Ongoing project to integrate palliative and supportive care in the management of patients with ALD.

Cancer

Primary Liver Cancer Gene Therapy
Dr Phil Harrison – Kings College School of Medicine, Institute of Liver Studies, London
Final report

Development of Novel Diagnostic Makers for Bile Duct Cancer
Dr Stephen Pereira – Royal Free and UCMS
Final report

Proteomic Profiling of Plasma for Biomarkers in Primary and Secondary Liver Cancers and Benign and Malignant Biliary Disease; using SELDI-TOF Mass Spectroscopy
Dr Shahid Khan – Imperial College, London
Final report

Establishment of Natural Killer Cell Therapy for Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC)
Professor Salim I Khakoo – University of Southampton
Final report

Specific Liver conditions

Pathogenesis of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
Dr J Neuberger – University Hospital Birmingham
Final research article

The Molecular Basis of Mucosal T Cell Homing to the Liver in Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
Professor David Adams – University of Birmingham
Final report

Molecular Action of New Therapies in Obstetric Cholestasis
Professor Catherine Williamson – Imperial College, London
This is an ongoing project. Professor Williamson is researching potential safe treatments in pregnancy to protect the unborn child from bile induced damage as happens in Obstetric Cholestasis. This project has been extended for additional clinical trials on two other potential drug therapies.
Williamson – Interim report

Development, Validation and Evaluation of a Disease Specific Quality of Life (QoL) Tool for Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC)
Lead consultant Dr Douglas Thorburn – Royal Free Hospital, London
This is a new and ongoing three year research project.

European Study on New Treatments for Non Alcohol Related Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
Led by Dr Emmanouil Tsochatzis – Royal Free Hospital, London
Ongoing research study aiming to ascertain if the administration of simvastatin or rifaximin, alone or in combination, can reduce the incidence of hepatic decompensation or mortality in patients with compensated cirrhosis and clinically significant portal hypertension.

Wilson’s Disease Project
The British Liver Trust is helping recruit patients for a new research study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a new therapy against Wilson’s disease.If you are newly diagnosed with Wilson’s disease you may be eligible to join the trial, if you meet the following criteria:

  • Male or female, aged 18 years or older
  • Have normal or elevated blood free copper levels
  • Treated with chelation or zinc therapy for 24 months or less
  • In otherwise general good health

Further information is available here or by contacting Professor Aftab Ala, Consultant Hepatologist, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, email aftabala@nhs.net

Liver Fibrosis /Cirrhosis

TIMP 1 and Fibrosis
Dr John P Iredale – University of Southampton, School of Medicine
Final report

Hepatocyte Proliferation and Apoptosis
Dr Chris Day – University of Newcastle, Medical School
Final report

Cloning & Biochemical Analysis of UTEBF
Dr D Mann – University of Southampton School of Medicine
Final report

Engineered Forms of HGF/SF in Chronic Liver Disease
Dr E Gheradi – University of Cambridge – Dept of Oncology
Final report

How Stellate Cells Modify the Local Immune Response of the Liver
Dr A Holt – Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham
(Funded jointly with the Digestive Disorders Foundation CORE)
Final Report

Optimisation of Small Interfering RNAs (siRNA) Targeted at the NF-kB Pathway for the Treatment of Liver Disease
Professor Derek Mann – University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Final report

Organ Donation

Organ and Tissue Donation: an Evaluation of Health Care Professionals’ Knowledge and Training and Implications for Education
Doctoral thesis by Timothy Collins – University of Greenwich School of Education, London
Final report

Diet and the Liver

Coffee and Liver Health
The British Liver Trust commissioned a review of the evidence and research on coffee and liver health.
For further information click here

Social Research

Epidemiology of Liver Disease in Tayside Study
Dr J F Dillon – Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee
Final report

Impact and Burden of Liver Disease in the UK
Dr P Roderick – University of Southampton, School of Medicine
(Funded jointly with the Foundation for Liver Research)
Final report

Systematic Review of the Prevalence of Mildly Abnormal Liver Function Tests and Associated Health Outcomes
Sven Radcke, John F Dillon and Aja L Murray – British Liver Trust, University of Edinburgh, University of Dundee
To read the full article visit the European Journal of Gastroenterology
Abstract     Results Table 1    Results Table 2

James Lind Alliance Alcohol-Related Liver Disease Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) 

The British Liver Trust played a key part in this exercise that sought to agree key research priorities.  

Data were collected through a survey asking patients, carers and health professionals for their unanswered questions around the diagnosis, treatment and care of alcohol-related liver disease. Over 230 responses were received from across the UK, and the top 25 questions were then taken to the JLA Alcohol-Related Liver Disease PSP workshop in September, where health professionals, patients and carers worked collaboratively to reach the following final Top 10:

  1. What are the most effective ways to help people with alcohol-related liver disease stop drinking?
  2. What are the most effective ways of delivering healthcare education and information about excessive alcohol consumption, the warning signs and the risks of alcohol-related liver disease to different demographics (including young people)?
  3. What is the most effective model of community-based care for patients with alcohol-related liver disease?
  4. What is the patient’s experience of alcohol-related liver disease?
  5. Do attitudes to perceived ‘self-induced illness’ amongst healthcare professionals affect treatment, care provision and compassion for individuals with alcohol-related liver disease?
  6. What are the most effective strategies to reduce the risk of alcohol-related liver disease in heavy drinkers?
  7. Does the stigma associated with alcohol misuse affect the willingness of people with alcohol-related liver disease to ask for help?
  8. What interventions improve survival in individuals with complications of advanced alcohol-related cirrhosis?
  9. How should depression be managed in the context of alcohol-related liver disease?
  10. What models of involvement of palliative care services in advanced alcohol-related liver

Further details available http://www.psp.nihr.ac.uk/alcohol-related-liver-disease/news/nihr-and-bsg-launch-top-10-research-priorities-for-alcohol-related-liver-disease

Other Research

End of Life Care for people with Liver Disease
Partnership with Marie Curie and the Royal Free Hospital, London
Ongoing project to ensure those with Liver Disease receive the same quality of end of life care as those with HIV and Cancer.

Survey of Liver Services in Scotland
Alastair MacGilchrist – Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Survey commissioned by the British Liver Trust and the Scottish Society of Gastroenterology on the provision of secondary care services for patients with liver disease in Scotland 2013.
Report – Survey of Liver Services in Scotland

LOCATE – Early Detection Model
Dr Nick Sheron – University of Southampton
This is an ongoing project of patient based research to implement screening to increase the earlier detection and diagnosis of liver disease. The desired outcome is an effective detection model that can be used nationally and adapted for international implementation.

Development of Visual Aids to Assist Discussions with Patients on Treatment Options
Mr Kurinchi Gurusamy – Royal Free Hospital, London
Ongoing study looking at the development of visual aids to improve shared decision making with patients on their condition and treatment options.

Developing Effective Liver Function Tests (LFTs)
Led by British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG)
Study on the effectiveness and knowledge of outcomes of LFTs in Primary Care and GP surgeries. Publication of report due in 2016.