Gene mutation research found people who are resistant to fatty liver disease. The resistance works so much that the subjects were able to drink as much as they would like without having to worry about developing it.
The same company was previously able to find a mutation that led to a powerful cholesterol drug.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals published the study in the New England Journal of Medicine, which says it found a gene mutation that makes people mostly immune to fatty liver disease. After publishing the study, it also announced that it will be partnering with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to produce medicine that will be able to replicate this mutation.
Regeneron was able to find that a genetic variation in the liver protein HSD17B13 was able to reduce the risk of chronic liver disease and the progression of steatosis to steatohepatitis, which is a fatty liver disease. It is working with Alnylam to be able to find the compounds that make up this protein.
The number of adults diagnosed with liver disease is 3.9 million. That's 1.6 percent of the population in the United States. It is caused by alcoholism and overeating. Genetics also play a role in liver disease. An abnormal gene from one or both parents can cause people to be susceptible to liver disease. Infection caused by parasites and viruses can cause inflammation, which reduces the function of the liver.
Results Of The Study
Researchers used the DNA, blood levels, and electronic records of 46,544 volunteers to look for genetic abnormalities that were involved in liver damage. They found the variation of the HSD17B13 liver protein. People who had this protein had a 73 percent lower chance of developing cirrhosis due to drinking and decreased the risk of nonalcoholic cirrhosis by 49 percent.
It also cut down the chances of developing alcoholic liver disease by 53 percent and nonalcoholic liver disease by 30 percent.
Regeneron was previously able to target the PCSK9 gene in previous searches for a gene mutation. This led to the creation of a powerful drug that is able to lower cholesterol levels. Alnylam chief executive John Maraganore is already comparing HSD17B13 to PCSK9 by how it can be used to prevent liver disease.
By being able to stop the function of the HSD17B13 protein, they are able to cut down the risk of chronic liver disease and the progression to developing fatty liver disease.