Precision Medicine to Treat Patients with NAFLD
An estimated 20-30% of people in the U.S. have too much fat in their liver due to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). At the Innovative Center for Health and Nutrition in Gastroenterology (ICHANGE) at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, clinicians are using patients' genes and other factors to understand this emerging health crisis better and develop better strategies to prevent the increasing rates of liver failure.
"Precision medicine takes into account more than just genetics. It's incorporating cultural beliefs, lifestyle choices, and other things that affect treatment. Precision medicine is addressing the one-size-fits-all mentality of some treatment modalities," says Dr. Sonal Kumar, director of hepatology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "A lot of diseases are intertwined. Taking into account genetic factors, cultural and social factors, can help us to guide a therapy plan for patients."
NAFLD risk factors
You are more likely to develop fatty liver disease if you have:
- Fat concentrated around the abdomen
- High blood sugar
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Hormonal disorder (such as an underactive thyroid or pituitary gland)
"There is a lot of data that shows using this individualized approach allows clinicians to target each individual's risk. Precision medicine enables us to look at the unique factors of each person with the knowledge that what works for me won't necessarily work for another person,” she says.
As part of ICHANGE, clinicians perform a series of tests and offer services including:
- Metabolomic testing — an analysis of the metabolic changes that play a role in the progression of NAFLD
- Body composition analysis
- Nutritional counseling
- Liver transplantation (if necessary)
Is this program right for me?
ICHANGE was designed to help to patients living with obesity and other gastrointestinal comorbidities. The program is recommended for people who have received a diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or are at risk of developing the condition. Our team of gastroenterologists, hepatologists, endocrinologists, cardiologists, and dieticians will evaluate you to see if you would be a good candidate.