New rapid blood test to detect early liver disease

New rapid blood tests that can detect liver disease at its earliest stage could bring relief to 20 million Britons

  • The new blood test only takes a few minutes and is very sensitive
  • Traditional blood tests can only detect the condition when it is more advanced
  • This new test will allow patients to modify their lifestyle to avoid lasting damage

A blood test that flags liver disease at an early stage before it can cause permanent damage is being developed by British scientists.

The condition, which is usually triggered by obesity, affects 20 million adults in the UK and initially causes no symptoms, making it difficult to spot until it is too late.

Current liver function blood tests can only detect the disease at later stages, after which the damage to the organ may be irreversible.

But with the new test – which takes just minutes – doctors can detect the condition long before that point and when simple lifestyle changes can reverse it.

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A blood test that flags liver disease at an early stage before it can cause permanent damage is being developed by British scientists

<a class=Liver disease is caused by fat accumulation and inflammation. Ultimately, this can lead to organ failure, leaving patients in need of a transplant and increasing the risk of liver cancer.” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

Liver disease is caused by fat accumulation and inflammation. Ultimately, this can lead to organ failure, leaving patients in need of a transplant and increasing the risk of liver cancer.

Screening could be offered as a routine part of mid-life health MOTs performed by GPs.

Liver disease is caused by fat accumulation and inflammation. Ultimately, this can lead to organ failure, leaving patients in need of a transplant and increasing the risk of liver cancer.

Professor Geltrude Mingrone, diabetes and nutrition expert at King’s College London, said: ‘Liver disease is a silent killer – it shows no symptoms until the later stages. This means that people are often unaware they have it until the disease becomes fatal.

“Current blood tests cannot pick up the telltale signs.

“With the new blood test, we will be able to diagnose patients years earlier and help them lose weight by reversing liver damage.”

The new blood test needs to go through large-scale clinical trials before it can be approved by UK health chiefs, but Prof Mingrone said: “Hopefully it can be available in a year or two. “

Fabio Onofrio, 40, from London, took part in a first trial of the blood test in 2020 after a biopsy revealed a risk of permanent liver damage.

The restaurant owner had struggled with weight since he was a teenager and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in early 2020.

After the biopsy, he received the new blood test which confirmed the disease at an early stage. He then underwent weight loss surgery and has since lost six stone.

He says: “My diagnosis was the main reason I decided to lose weight. If more people could afford a simple blood test to let them know their risk, I think it could make a big difference in their lives.

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