“International Liver Forum – What’s New in Basic and Clinical Hepatology”, hosted by the Department of Hepatology (Chairperson: Professor Norifumi Kawada [Visiting Professor, University College London]), Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University (OCU) was held on Monday, 30 September, 2019 on the 37th floor conference room at Nakanoshima Festival Tower, Osaka City.
Nine distinguished researchers from Japan and abroad made their presentations during this two-part forum.
Part 1) Basic Hepatology, chaired by Professors Kazuo Ikeda and Specially Appointed Lecturer Sawako Matsubara
Part 2) Translational and Clinical Hepatology, chaired by Professor Norifumi Kawada and Specially Appointed Associate Professor Yutaka Yada
At the beginning of the forum, Professor Kawada (photo on the right) said, “Osaka which has many patients with liver diseases, is the center for liver disease research in Japan. We thank OCU for hosting this forum where we can present our most recent research, right before the International Liver Conference tomorrow. Osaka is known for its food culture, but first, please listen to the following presentations of the most up-to-date research.”
Below are summaries of the main presentations:
Anatomical considerations on liver biology
Kenjiro Wake, Visiting Professor, Osaka City University (Honorary Doctor, Osaka City University)
Professor Wake presented studies on the activated state of hepatic stellate cells (HSC), a collaboration he is doing with OCU Assistant Professor Hayato Urushima. When the liver is damaged, HSC changes into an activated state and produces a reactive factor called “fibrosis” which can lead to hepatic cirrhosis and cancer. In this presentation he described his observations on what triggers HSC activation and on the phenomenon that causes HSC to return to a stationary phase.
New concept of portal hypertension
Yasuko Iwakiri, Associate Professor, Yale University
25% to 50% of lymph in a human body is produced in the liver and many of intrahepatic lymphatic vessels are located near the portal vein. It has been seen in patients with portal hypertension that changes in blood flow in the portal vein and hepatic artery cause changes in the amount of lymph around the blood vessels, and that sympathetic nerves can cause lymphangiogenesis. These phenomena may affect fibrosis and various liver diseases, but due to the little research done on this matter, further investigations are expected.
Measurement of organ stiffness
Laurent Castera, Professor, University of Paris-VII (Visiting Professor, University College London)
The liver is an organ which is stiffer than the lungs but softer than muscles, however the liver gets stiffer as it`s state gets worse. In order to measure liver stiffness properly, various measurement devices have been developed. This presentation introduced different points regarding the use of measurement devices as well as comparing data calculated with different devices, and the fact that 20% of endoscopic exams can be omitted with the effective use of devices.
Liver tissue engineering
Massimo Pinzani, Professor, University College London (Visiting Professor, Osaka City University)
Although live liver transplants to patients with liver diseases is increasing, 20% to 25% of potential donor livers cannot be used for many reasons e.g. excessive time after evisceration, excess fat, etc. Thus, artificial livers are being developed with various new methods. In this presentation, hybrid artificial livers with the use of iPS cells and a custom-made liver for specific patients which is completed in 30 days after the order, were introduced along with their merits and problems.
A Q-A session was run after each presentation and opinions were actively exchanged until last minute of the extended time. The forum successfully ended with a group photo.