Hepatology Specialty Profile
Why you should deliver hepatology research in the UK
The Hepatology Specialty covers all aspects of research related to the liver including transplantation, viral hepatitis, immune mediated liver diseases, alcohol related and non alcoholic fatty liver disease. We have Specialty leads representing all areas of England and have close links with the devolved nations. Our group contains key opinion leaders with a worldwide reputation for trials in therapeutics, diagnostics and epidemiology. As well as a National Specialty Lead we have a dedicated National Industry lead.
The Clinical Research Network (CRN) provides researchers with the practical support they need to make research happen the NHS and the wider health and social care environment. As well as providing research delivery staff, we also bring together communities of clinical practice to provide national networks of research expertise. The Hepatology Specialty is one of such communities and is made up of leading clinicians interested in research and practitioners at both national and local levels. Our job is to ensure that the studies we support are delivered to time and target. We can provide:
Access to patients
We have strong links with other Hepatology focussed consortia including Hepatitis C Research UK, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis and Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Networks and Autoimmune Hepatitis Network, each allied with and linked into patient support groups. This gives us access to a wide range of patients including those with rare diseases.
More than 5,300 patients were recruited into Hepatology studies in 2018/19. Over 58 per cent of our Portfolio achieved their recruitment target in the planned timeframe in 2018/19.
We have also delivered large numbers of patients in individual studies which includes over 800 in Elucidate and more than 1,100 in Stopah.
We link closely with other Specialties including Cancer, Surgery, Gastroenterology, Infection and Primary Care. We can deliver research in a range of care settings from transplant/ITU to the community.
As a Specialty we work closely with other parts of the NIHR including Biomedical Research Centre’s in Birmingham, Nottingham and Newcastle which have a particular interest in Hepatology. We are also actively engaged in MedTech studies and with Involve.This allows for a streamlined, integrated approach to delivering research across all phases of research.
We also have a network of experimental medicine experts we collaborate with and can deliver bespoke experimental medicine studies.
The UK has seven liver transplant centres that can support the identification of transplant patients for studies.
We link with a range of professional bodies including British Society Gastroenterology and British Association for the Study of the Liver.
CALIBRE and BOPPP
We are supporting two new NIHR funded multi-centre UK wide studies to investigate the best way of treating small and medium sized oesophageal varices. Cirrhosis of the liver causes obstruction of blood flow through the liver, raising the pressure in the veins that drain the intestines. This can lead to engorgement of blood vessels in the oesophagus called varices. The varices can rupture leading to life threatening blood loss.
Two strategies are commonly used to prevent varicella bleeding: prescription of beta-blockers and ligation of the varices with rubber bands.
BOPPP (Beta-blockers or placebo for primary prophylaxis) compares the use of these interventions for small varicose and CALIBRE (Carvedilol versis variceal band ligation in primary prevention of varicieal bleeding in liver cirrhosis) investigates their use for larger varices.
CALIBRE is open for recruitiment in 49 hospitals across the country and is supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network. We hope that many hospitals across the country will participate in both studies to deliver results that will guide the future management of patients with this important and worrying condition.
HCV Research UK
HCV Research UK is a consortium of investigators from across the UK that gathered patient and virus samples linked to clinical data from over 10,000 patients with chronic hepatitis C in under 30 months. The consortium has supported over 50 subsidiary studies, leveraged over £800,000 in industry support and generated important insights into the progression and regression of disease in the direct-acting antivirals (DAA) era.
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