First NAFLD Summit

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The first NAFLD Summit organized by EASL (European Association for the Study of the Liver) took place in Rome, Italy from 9 — 11 of November. It was 3 days of learning and scientific updates that was very enriching. Several international speakers, renowned researchers in the academic and industry fields, gave lectures in the following main fields related to non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD) diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment:

  • Hepatic lipid metabolism and lipotoxicity as prognostic/therapeutic target;
  • Insulin resistance, insulin, and hormonal signaling;
  • Oxidative stress, ER stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction;
  • Inflammation, adaptive and innate immunity in NASH;
  • Apoptosis and microparticles;
  • Bile acids, bile acids signaling: bile acids as prognostic signature in NASH;
  • Gut microbiota;
  • Carcinogenesis;
  • Fibrosis.

Four ESRs had the opportunity to attend this event and share here their impressions:

“This first EASL Summit was my first impact with the research involved in the pathology of NAFLD. An event with distinctive people involved in research and industry. The lectures approached a high diversity of themes and addressed different and emergent problems. In addition to getting to know the different aspects involved in the research of new treatments, I also realized that there are still a lot of questions to be answered. Questions related to treatment efficacy, genetic and environment influence and the possible mechanisms involved in this disease with a worldwide prevalence. With this, I would like to conclude that my participation in the congress allowed me to realize the great importance of each theme within the Foie Gras Project. Moreover, how they can make a difference in very near future.
I also have to write a few words about Rome. Once a capital of Europe and the world, it still shows a great magnificence and beauty. Full of historical monuments, surprising buildings in each corner of the city and a marvelous food, it is definitely a city worth of visiting.”

ESR 2 – Sara Guerra

“The first NAFLD Summit was a great success. The lectures covered several topics regarding the diagnosis and pathogenesis of NAFLD, NASH and hepatocellular carcinoma. Each session started with an academic overview of the topic which was a great way of contextualizing the following presentations. Personally, as someone new in this field of research, I found it very useful and interesting. Some of the presentations were performed by representatives of pharmaceutical companies, mainly on preliminary results of potential new targets for treatment. It was a wonderful way to bring together academia and industry and to promote collaborations between them. Moreover, it reminded me of how important it is to study NAFLD and its complications and allowed me to have new ideas for my project.
Apart from the Summit, I also took the opportunity to visit Rome and found that it is a beautiful city full of light, music and good people.” 

ESR 6 – Barbara Patricio

“The 1st EASL Summit at Rome marked the beginning of interacting with several conferees and professionals in the medical field in order to spread the concern and knowledge about liver diseases. On a personal note, it was the first contact at both academic and enterprise level worldwide in such a high standard setting. What it impressed me more however, was the depiction of the disease as a global burden which not only affects the liver but targets many other factors both at a physiological and a biochemical level in our body. In the future, and as it was expressed several times during the event, more emphasis needs to be put into delivering traditional approaches (namely, a significant lifestyle improvement) for as long as we can prevent the progression of fatty liver to hepatocellular carcinoma.”

ESR 7 – Emilio Molina

“The Summit was a very large, well-organized event. It was a great opportunity to learn about cutting-edge research mostly in the field of diagnosing and treating NAFLD and NASH. At the beginning of the event, there was an overview lecture, during which it was brought to our attention how fatty liver disease incidence will only rise from now on following the trend of obesity rise. What is even more concerning, since overweight and obesity is increasing in children and adolescents, it is likely that the age of onset of NAFLD will probably be earlier in the future as well. I believe the data presented only reiterate how important is the research we are doing in the context of the Foie Gras.”

ESR 11 – Raquel Baccetto

In between lectures, there were also several poster sessions. If you would like to check out what other researchers are doing, EASL makes them available online — here.

We leave you with an infographic from the event on NAFLD and inflammation:

Inflammosome in Liver Disease

AUTHORS:

  • Sara Guerra (ESR-2), pursuing her PhD at CNR in Pisa, Italy
  • Bárbara Patrício (ESR-6), pursuing her PhD at CNR in Pisa, Italy
  • Emilio Molina (ESR-7), pursuing his PhD at UNIBA in Bari, Italy
  • Raquel Baccetto (ESR-11), pursuing her PhD at UNIBA in Bari, Italy
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