Europe invested £29m to study drug-induce liver damage
Author:Science and Technology Division, UK
Article Source:Adapted from: The Medical Research Council 24th May 2012
Innovative Medicines Initiative and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations together invested £29m in a five-year programme aiming at developing new tests that will help researchers to predict drug-induced liver injury (DILI). British Medical Research Council Centre for Drug Safety Science will be part of the programme.
The condition is a leading cause of acute liver failure and transplantation in western countries, as well as a major reason for the termination of drug development in clinical trials and refusal of market approval. A drug must pass drug tests before it can be formally used on clinical treatments. Current pre-clinical drug tests are successful at predicting some types of DILI but detecting the risk of serious and rare cases of DILI in humans that are susceptible to it has proved significantly more difficult. These problems are often not detected until a drug is already on the market.
The major focus of the project will be on the evaluation of currently available and new laboratory test systems. Researchers will also develop models that take into account the natural differences between patients, including certain genes, the liver’s immune response, and viral infections as these are all risk factors of DILI. The researchers explained that to accurately predict DILI, further knowledge is required into molecules along with human bodies. It is hoped that the collaboration between the industry and the academia will lead to the development of more effective assessment tests. This will not only ensure that patients receive the safest medical treatments but can also increase the competitiveness of the European pharmaceutical.
Liverpool scientists are leading new research in partnership with AstraZeneca, which includes collaborations with eight academic institutions, six small and medium enterprises and 10 other pharmaceutical companies across Europe. The consortium are working to improve the tools used to test for liver toxicity during drug development and further understanding of the reasons behind drug-induced liver injury.