A breakthrough treatment for liver disease could offer hope to the millions worldwide who suffer from the illness and reduce the annual UK toll of 13,000 deaths from obesity and alcohol-related conditions.
The treatment involves swallowing a sachet containing tiny carbon beads that are designed to remove toxins produced by bacteria in the gut of heavy drinkers and the obese and stop them attacking the liver. Human trials are expected to begin next year.
Rajiv Jalan, professor of hepatology at University College London (UCL), whose work underpins the treatments, said: “This is revolutionary because at the moment we treat these patients with antibiotics and if you treat them for a year or 18 months they introduce many resistant strains.”
Daniel Green, chief executive of Yaqrit, the UCL spinout company developing the treatments, said “liver disease had been neglected for years even though it was largely preventable. It was also the only widespread potentially fatal condition where death rates were still increasing”
According to Jalan, if the trials are successful patients would take a teaspoon of nanoporous carbon in a sachet before bedtime each evening. The carbon would remove toxins produced by bacteria in the gut that would otherwise enter the body and liver, allowing them to pass harmlessly through the body.
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UCL Business PLC (UCLB) is a leading technology commercialisation company that supports research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market.
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Yaqrit Limited is a UK company specialising in interventions in liver disease based on 20 years of research and development by the Liver Failure Group, ILDH, UCL.
For further information, please visit: www.yaqrit.com