Brussels, 10 January 2019
European Liver Patients' Association has held a second edition of its NAFLD - NASH meeting on 9th of January 2019. The meeting was hosted by Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Science, Research and Innovation and was held in the European Commission in Brussels.
Gathering experts form the field ELPA has continued not only raising awareness on NAFLD - NASH, but has also taken a step further and explored the steps to be taken to prevent the NAFLD - NASH epidemics in Europe. NAFLD, which has become the most common chronic liver disorder in Europe and the U.S., and NASH are seen as lifestyle conditions. Current research suggests that being overweight or obese and
metabolic syndromes such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension are common conditions in patients affected by NAFLD. The prevalence of NAFLD in the general population ranges from 20% to 30% in Europe and will become the leading cause of liver transplantation in the next 10-20 years.
ELPA therefore recognizes this threat to public health and represents efforts of the community in taking the action to establish effective policies for early detection and effective therapies, and put more effort into prevention policies across the European Union.
In his keynote speech Commissioner Carlos Moedas addressed the importance of the research projects in NAFLD, funded by the European Union, such as LITMUS project and Liverhope project. He has additionally highlighted the importance of research in tackling this condition, pointing out to the need for an open access to all the data that is used for science and innovation. Referring to NAFLD, all this could lead to a better diagnostics standard, he concluded.
In order to hear from the experts what is the current state and how to proceed next, we have invited experts from the field to share their knowledge and advice for next steps valuable to patients' perspective. Prof. Jeffrey Lazarus, Vice-chairman of the EASL International Liver Foundation presented the results from the NAFLD policy review, Prof. Dr. Helena Cortez – Pinto, EU Policy Councillor at European
Association for the Study of the Liver gave a presentation on Screening and referral policy in primary care, Prof. Dr. Quentin M. Anstee, Deputy-Director of the Institute of Cellular Medicine presented the LITMUS, EPoS & the European NAFLD Registry - European
Efforts to Improve the Diagnosis of NAFLD, Prof. Dr. Manuel Romero-Gómez, President of SAPD. Digestive Diseases Unit. Virgen del Rocío University Hospital. SeLiver group at Institute of Biomedicine of Seville suggested strategies to increase awareness and detection of NAFLD, Dr. Jörn M. Schattenberg from the Universitätsmedizin Mainz spoke about the role of nutrition in prevention of NALFD and NASH and Elena Balestra from the European Patients' Forum empowered present patients' representatives speaking about the meaningful involvement of patients in tackling NAFLD - NASH. Prof. Dr. Rajiv Jalan from the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, Division of Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Hepatology delivered the conclusions of the meeting.
As a next step, European Liver Patients'Association will produce policy recommendations containing key takeaways from the meeting and will share it with the stakeholders in order to even further emphasize the necessity to adopt measures through which the epidemics of NAFLD and NASH could be prevented.