VCU to Unveil Institute of Liver Disease and Metabolic Health
RICHMOND, Virginia (WWBT) – The Commonwealth University of Virginia plans to unveil a new Institute for Liver Disease and Metabolic Health that will build on nationally recognized hepatology and liver transplant programs.
The institute will be headed by Arun Sanyal, MD, a researcher and liver disease specialist at VCU Health and a professor in the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition in the department of internal medicine at VCU medical school.
Sanyal spoke about the new institute and its impact on the community.
“This is an exceptional opportunity to tackle real issues throughout the course of liver disease – from early stages to liver transplantation – with the goal of improving our health and that of future generations through cutting edge research. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to make this vision a reality, ”said Sanyal.
Sanyal says VCU health is equipped to tackle many health issues, but some areas are the subject of more research than others.
“Most places have a heart center, a diabetes center, a cancer center, and these are incredibly important areas of research, but one area that has been overlooked in the past is liver disease,” Sanyal said. .
Liver disease affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year, but fewer than 9,000 liver transplants are performed nationwide, of which fewer than 300 are in Virginia. Sanyal says UVA health and VCU health are the only two health systems in the state qualified to perform liver transplants, with VCU health achieving 157 so far this year.
“We know you can’t just go in and order an off-the-shelf liver transplant… we’re limited by the number of organs in this country,” Sanyal said. “Other than liver transplants, there is no viable long-term treatment that is very effective in reversing mortality and providing long-term quality of life for people who have reached the end of the road with liver disease. . “
The institute would make VCU a world leader in research and education in liver disease, metabolic disorders, and the care of patients with these diseases.
Sanyal says liver-related illnesses don’t just stem from alcohol or drug use and can affect a large percentage of Virginians.
“We know that two-thirds of our population are obese, and if you’re obese you have a three in four chance of having obesity-related liver disease; three out of four, ”Sanyal said.
Senior Vice President of VCU Health and Sciences and CEO of VCU Health Art Kellermann, MD, said the institute will place a strong emphasis on translating the benefits of basic research to patients. It will help improve the prevention, early detection and treatment of liver disease.
“There are a number of points through which the work the liver institute will be doing will be directly related to the health of most Americans and the majority of people in Virginia,” Sanyal said.
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