Translating the potential of the urine steroid metabolome to stage NAFLD
It is with great pleasure to announce that Professor Jeremy Tomlinson (Radcliffe Department of Medicine), with the support of the Translational Research Office (TRO) has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Innovator Award.
Fat deposition in the liver (so called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD) is now the commonest chronic liver condition, affecting one in three individuals. It can lead to liver problems including cirrhosis and liver cancer as well as increasing your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Simple blood tests are often normal, and the current gold-standard test for assessing NAFLD severity is a liver biopsy. This is an invasive procedure that is associated with significant complications, including pain and bleeding. Professor Tomlinson has developed a urine test that measures natural steroid hormones and provides an accurate reflection of how the liver is functioning in patients with NAFLD.
Wellcome have awarded Professor Tomlinson with £500k to translate their preliminary findings to a large group of patients with NAFLD to ensure that our test is accurate and reliable. They will ask patients who are scheduled to have a routine liver biopsy to assess the severity of their NAFLD (as part of their NHS care) to provide a urine sample as well as additional blood tests. The aim is to see if the analysis from their urine samples can accurately predict the results of the liver biopsy. Professor Tomlinson and his collaborative team will also collect urine and blood samples and undertake ultrasound scans in healthy control subjects without NAFLD to see if our urine test is also able to correctly identify those individuals who do, and do not have NAFLD. If successful, the urine test could be used by GPs and hospitals reducing liver biopsies and making a significant advance to patient care.
Professor Jeremy Tomlinson is currently recruiting for a clinical fellow for the project.
The TRO would like to wish Jeremy all the best. Congratulations!!
The TRO played a crucial part in successfully obtaining the grant. They were able to provide really valuable input setting the application in the context of the current therapeutic landscape, highlighting the novelty of our approach and the unmet need. Their expertise in refining the product profile and down-stream strategy was hugely important, bridging the gap between academic research and the potential for commercialization. The access to the ‘experts in residence’ programme was a real asset and added greatly to the application.
Professor Jeremy Tomlinson