San Antonio doctor develops first possible treatment for fatty liver disease

SAN ANTONIO – Years ago, a local doctor began studying fatty liver disease, which is prevalent in San Antonio’s Hispanic population.

KSAT reported on the issue and informed the public of a need for study participants.

950 people quickly called the number to join the study, which allowed the research team to finally start working on a drug to possibly cure the disease.

Fatty liver disease is the leading cause of liver transplantation in the United States today, and there is currently no treatment or cure.

“Too much fat accumulates in the liver. It causes inflammation, fibrosis, inflammation, hepatitis fibrosis because cirrhosis leads to terrible things, cancer and death, etc. said Dr. Sherwyn Schwartz, endocrinology consultant for research firm ERG.

Schwartz spent decades doing research to improve diabetes care in San Antonio and came out of retirement to work on fatty liver disease. He now directs global disease research in San Antonio.

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Three years ago, Schwartz did an interview on KSAT showing a simple 10-minute scan that lets people see if they have fatty liver disease and to what extent.

“And we found out, believe it or not, with random people, 70% of the people who come through here have severe liver disease. Significant means 70% of the liver contained fat,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz said previous studies had shown there was a common genetic defect in Hispanics, namely Mexican Americans, that made them more likely to contract the disease. This defect is exacerbated when combined with poor diet and little exercise.

“We found a lot of people with fatty liver disease. We discovered that many of these people had the genetic defect. And now we are working on the drug,” he said.

It would be the very first drug to prevent fatty liver disease.

“Where basically people will get a panel looking for genetic defects. They have this defect, they’re going to take this drug and it suppresses the genetic effect that’s causing this fatty liver,” Schwartz said.

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The local team is in the early stages of research that could take years.

“It could be a cure. We can’t promise anything, but at least it’s a start. It’s something. At the moment we have nothing,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz calls on San Antonio again. He and his team are looking for more people to scan to participate in this upcoming clinical trial for a possible drug to cure this disease.

He said patients will be compensated for their time and travel.

For more information or to register, call 210-949-0807 or Click here.

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