Levelling-up our understanding of liver damage is the aim of the new Midlands Liver Research Alliance, which includes dedicated teams from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Leicester BRC.
The Alliance between the NIHR Leicester, Nottingham and Birmingham Biomedical Research Centres has been set up to work with the public and healthcare professionals, to identify research priorities around liver disease.
The Alliance is now reaching out to people who may be affected by liver disease, inviting them to shape their future work.
Kerry Hulley, Midlands Liver Research Alliance Operational and Engagement Lead, said: “We want to hear from people about their experiences of living with liver conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and understand the issues and symptoms which most affect them.
“Only through hearing about peoples’ experiences can we determine research priorities, develop and test new screening, diagnostics and treatments, and create resources appropriate for the people most affected.
“We would especially like to talk to people in rural and coastal areas who have not had specialist services for their liver conditions on their doorstep. We also want to hear from people who have used healthcare services for NAFLD treatment.
“The Alliance covers the whole of the Midlands, so if you live in this region, have, or feel you may be at risk of liver disease, please get in touch.”
Professor Guruprasad Aithal, Co-Director and Theme Lead at NIHR Nottingham BRC, said:
“People with non-alcoholic fatty liver have multiple chronic conditions which affect their lives.
“Only by bringing experience from different disciplines together we can alleviate this mounting burden.”
James King, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at Loughborough University, said:
“For such a long time we have known that obesity is a leading risk factor for chronic liver disease.
“It’s fantastic that we now have a partnership that is committed to addressing the most important problems facing patients and healthcare professionals in the area of obesity-related liver disease.”
Professor Phil Newsome, Director of the NIHR Birmingham BRC, said:
“The Midlands Liver Research Alliance is an exciting project that allows for the roll out of our liver trials expertise across the region. It’s a valuable opportunity to access and benefit underserved communities, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with our colleagues across the Midlands to optimise liver disease research.”
To do so, email MidlandsLiverResearchAlliance@uhl-tr.nhs.uk
What is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?
Early-stage NAFLD does not usually have symptoms, but it can lead to serious liver damage, including cirrhosis, if it gets worse.
It is commonly linked with excess weight and type 2 diabetes, and has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes.