This webinar, hosted by Lindsey Wahlstrom-Edwards, Partnerships Lead for Sano Genetics, and featuring Wayne Eskridge and Dr. Neeraj Mistry from the Fatty Liver Foundation, was an informative session on the genetics and lifestyle factors that contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
The link to the full webinar is here; a brief summary is below for easy reference.
Wayne Eskridge is the CEO of the Fatty Liver Foundation (FLF), an organisation dedicated to patient-to-patient curation of information and bringing better patient experiences to people with liver disease. FLF is also using Sano Genetics' platform to accelerate precision medicine research and develop The Wellness League, the first community-driven health and wellness platform for people at-risk of or living with NAFLD and NASH.
Dr. Neeraj Mistry is the Chief Medical Officer at the Fatty Liver Foundation. He is a public health physician with extensive experience in global health policy and programming. He has worked in developing and developed countries, in the public and private sectors, and across clinical practice, health policy and social development.
Lifestyle and environmental risk factors can certainly contribute to the development of NAFLD and NASH, and the speakers emphasised the importance of understanding a person’s genetic predisposition for the disease and how it interacts with lifestyle factors. Early screening and treatment to prevent the progression of the disease was also emphasised.
Several genes are associated with NAFLD and NASH; some genetic variants make individuals more likely to develop NASH and at least one variant appears to be protective. The effect size of these variants is not equal, with PNLPA3 being one of the key genes that are currently being studied. The possibilities of precision medicine treatments for these conditions are exciting.
The conversation then turned to the SUN (Screening for Undiagnosed NAFLD/NASH) study, which was conducted by the Fatty Liver Foundation. The study aimed to identify asymptomatic individuals with liver disease and assess the prevalence of NAFLD and NASH in the Houston suburbs. The study found that 80% of the participants had some form of liver disease, ranging from simple fatty liver to cirrhosis. The results of the study underscored the need for early screening and treatment for NAFLD and NASH.
The SUN2 study aims to expand the SUN1 model to 20,000 people. The study will focus on the asymptomatic population to identify individuals who are at risk of developing NAFLD and NASH. The study will also include genetic testing to better understand the genetic predisposition for the disease.
This webinar provided key insights into the genetics and lifestyle factors that contribute to NAFLD and NASH, and emphasised the importance for early screening, treatment, and prevention of the disease. It is critical for people to understand their genetic predisposition for the disease and how it interacts with lifestyle factors in order to drive early detection of these conditions. Ongoing research is being conducted to better understand the disease and develop effective treatments.