General Hospital researchers have come up with a new therapy that has
shown to considerably improve a kind of liver disease people with HIV
HIV people have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – there is no
treatment or cure for it and will cause abnormalities in body
composition and increases one’s risk for heart attack or stroke.
Neuroendocrinologist Dr. Steven Grinspoon said it’s the first time
there is a possible treatment that can decrease fat and stop the
speed of fibrosis in NAFLD. He said it gives doctors an opportunity
for early intervention when the condition is still benign.
and other researchers were able to produce the drug tesamorelin,
which causes the production of a natural growth hormone that can
decrease visceral fat by up to 20 percent. It’s also been seen in
slowdown the advancement of scar tissue.
a year of use, tesamoreline can cause a drop of 37 percent in liver
fat levels. One in three subjects using the drug saw the liver fat
fall below the NAFLD threshold. It’s a huge decrease in liver fat,
which can also stop the development of fibrosis and decrease
inflammation in a safe way.
said the drug uses a body’s natural hormone, ensuring there are no
side effects. He said patients in the MGH clinic have been using the
drug and have seen firsthand how effective it is.
The drug is given once a day by way of an injection, similar to how insulin is given.
said all other NAFLD therapies do not include any HIV patients, which
he finds disturbing, as these are the patients that are in need of
sufferers usually accumulate excess fat in their abdomen, and less
fat builds in the legs. This can cause metabolism abnormalities.
to studies, 40 percent of people with HIV also have NAFLD. If
untreated, it can lead to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, which then
can cause cirrhosis and liver failure.
Researchers are also looking at whether or not the drug can decrease fat and improve NAFLD in people who do not have HIV.