The researchers at Mayo Clinic have found a new drug therapy that can treat a fatal condition related with cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases. The study was published in the journal Gastroenterology on March 11, 2019.
Cirrhosis is one of the acute liver diseases. It happens when cells in the liver are damaged and our body can no longer repair them. The disease cirrhosis slows down the blood flow, which puts a restain on portal vein. As a result, it causes portal hypertension also known as high blood pressure.
Currently, there are therapies and treatments available to treat liver diseases such as hepatitis C and autoimmune hepatitis. However, when it comes to treating portal hypertension there are limited options available in the market.
For this study, the research was conducted on a mouse model to check the drug sivelestat which may effectively lower the high blood pressure.
By using this drug, scientists were able to lower the high blood pressure by impeding the neutrophil (inflammatory cells). Neutrophils are responsible for the formation of fibrin, which are microvascular blood clots, that cause high blood pressure.
Thus, this drug proved to be effective in decreasing high blood pressure. It has also improved the symptoms and overall result of those patients who were suffering from liver diseases.
Dr. Vijay Shah, the study author, and a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist said, “This was an exciting confirmation of our findings and their applicability to human disease. Sivelestat has been safely used in humans with acute lung injury and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.”
Additionally, he said, “This suggests that sivelestat and similar drugs constitute a potential means to decrease portal hypertension in patients with chronic liver disease.”
Moira Hilscher, M.D., the paper's first author, said, “Neutrophils had not previously been identified as significant drivers of portal hypertension. The study paves the way for developing new drugs and repurposing of existing compounds to target inflammation in the liver driven by disease-related mechanical forces.”
According to the researchers, so far sivelestat has proved to be effective on humans for the treatment of acute lung injuries. Researchers have now claimed that it can also help in lowering blood pressure and might be able to treat patients who are suffering from chronic liver diseases.
Nonetheless, this drug therapy has opened new doors for further investigation specifically targeting the life-threatening liver diseases.