Preventing Liver Disease

Preventing Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is an advanced form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which results from the buildup of fat in the liver and is usually associated with obesity. In NASH, the fat buildup involves inflammation and liver damage that can lead to liver cancer. Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) is an intracellular “clean-up” process that degrades and recycles proteins; in the liver, CMA may reduce the risk of NASH and other types of liver disease by maintaining liver homeostasis.

Research by Esperanza Arias-Perez, Ph.D., has shown that CMA may help in preventing NASH from developing into liver cancer. The NIH has awarded Dr. Arias-Perez a four-year, $1.5 million grant to continue her studies on CMA’s cancer-prevention role. The grant will help her lab to learn how CMA failure contributes to liver-cancer progression and to explore whether chemically or genetically enhancing CMA activity could help slow down or even prevent NASH from progressing to liver cancer.

Dr. Arias-Perez is an assistant professor of medicine at Einstein. (1 R01 DK124308-01)

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