King's College researchers awarded £2.3 million for new trial to treat liver disease

Dr Mark McPhail from the Department of Inflammation Biology, School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences and Dr Vishal Patel from the Institute of Liver Studies at King's College Hospital have been awarded £2.3 million by the National Institute of Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) to lead a new UK wide multi-centre trial to treat liver disease.

Liver disease is the fifth commonest cause of death in the developed world and is rising in incidence, with liver failure a common mode of death. In the UK, it is estimated that 60,000 people have cirrhosis with approximately 11,000 attributable deaths each year. In many cases patients present with internal bleeding from oesophageal varices, which occurs unpredictably requiring emergency treatment, and leading to the need for intensive care admission and may be life-ending if not stoppable.

This NIHR HTA grant will provide £2.3 million to recruit, treat and follow-up with 1,200 patients from 25 different hospitals around the UK. The trial will take 6 years to complete aiming to assess whether the risk of bleeding can be reduced.

Both Dr McPhail and Dr Patel are leading the application alongside Dr Ben Carter from King's College London Clinical Trials Unit.

Of the trial, Dr McPhail states

We predict a reduction in liver bleeding by almost 50% after three years of follow up with less hospital admissions".

Dr Patel comments:

This is a huge opportunity for a potentially landmark study, and if effective could benefit the lives for '000's of patients with cirrhosis in the UK. We are looking forward to working with our colleagues across the UK to successfully deliver this trial"

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