The University of Brighton is sharing in a €5.9m EU grant to support the development of a new treatment for chronic liver disease as part of a European consortium led by University College London.
Cirrhosis of the liver affects 29 million Europeans, claims 170,000 lives every year and costs the EU almost €16bn.There are several causes of liver disease but the increasing incidence of obesity and excessive alcohol consumption is causing a rapid rise in the number of cases seen across Europe.
Changes in the bacteria that populate the gut in patients with liver disease make the condition worse and leads to a range of additional health complications. Current treatments include the use of antibiotics to kill the gut bacteria but the long-term use of these drugs can result in antibiotic resistance and can be very costly.
The University of Brighton’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences will receive £189,751 of the grant for laboratory work to assist with trials of a new and safe nanoporous carbon that acts in the gut to reduce the entrance of bacterial products into the blood which exacerbate liver injury.
The school’s Dr Susan Sandeman said: ‘In cirrhosis, current therapy to prevent recurrent complications of advanced cirrhosis is to use poorly-absorbed antibiotics. But long-term antibiotic therapy has problems associated with bacterial resistance and this can prove costly.
‘We will be part of a consortium investigating the safety and efficacy of this novel nanoporous carbon in patients with liver disease and developing an innovative and cost-effective strategy for disease management.’
The EU research project, called CARBALIVE, has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 634579.