Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 202

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million people in the European Union suffering from chronic liver conditions.
He also pointed out that the four leading causes of cirrhosis and primary
liver cancer in Europe are harmful alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis B
and C, metabolic syndrome related to being overweight, and obesity.
Peck-Radosavljevic continued, “Each of these four major causes of liver
disease can be tackled by prevention and treatment”, adding that EASL’s
and the liver research community’s mission is to solve problems that the
EU has identified, with the first of those actions to be to develop and
provide concrete solutions.
Challenges
The professor concluded by saying that among the concrete major
challenges Europe will face over the period 2017-2020 with regard to
liver cancer, two need particular attention: the application of molecular
mechanisms to patients with chronic liver disease, hepatocellular
carcinoma (HCC) and treatment-resistant HCC; and the exploration of
targets in HCC prevention strategies.
HEPAMAP includes, amongst others, the following subject areas: viral
hepatitis – basic science, alcoholic liver disease and non-alcoholic
liver disease, genetic and autoimmune diseases, cirrhosis and
portal hypertension, cholestatic and drug-induced liver disease,
liver transplantation, acute liver failure and hepatic regeneration, and
public health.
A
ccording to the World Health Organization’s Europe office,
chronic liver disease and cirrhosis – along with stomach and
intestinal ulcers – are the main causes of death among
diseases of the digestive system. What is more, the European Association
for the Study of the Liver (EASL) highlights the fact that liver diseases
are extremely costly in terms of human suffering, premature loss of
productivity, and general practitioner as well as hospital visits. In 2013,
29 million people in the EU were documented as suffering from a chronic
liver condition.
It was timely, then, that in December 2014 the EASL launched the
‘Research Roadmap for Liver Disease (HEPAMAP) – Case study for
chronic diseases & research’ at an event hosted by MEP Cristian-Silviu
Bus¸oi in the European Parliament, Brussels.
According to the association, in 2013 liver cirrhosis accounted for around
170,000 deaths in Europe and liver cancer 47,000. Preventing these
deaths would not only have enormous benefits for Europe’s citizens, it
would also save the EU and member states’ economies billions of euros
in health and social care costs.
Research
HEPAMAP stresses the need for further research on liver disease and
calls on policy makers to step up their efforts to tackle it and its links with
lifestyle and other diseases, such as cardiovascular conditions and cancer.
Speaking at the launch of the roadmap, Bus¸oi, who is also chair of the
informal interest group on liver disease in the European Parliament, said:
“Many EU citizens are now aware of conditions such as viral hepatitis
and liver cirrhosis. However, there is a wide range of other liver conditions
about which we know little. HEPAMAP shows where we need to be
looking and where we need to improve both in terms of research and
policy initiatives.”
Professor Markus Peck-Radosavljevic, EASL secretary general, added:
“Liver disease causes tremendous suffering. The quality of life,
productivity and potential of millions of people in Europe could be
improved through world class science, innovation and research. I hope
that HEPAMAP raises awareness of the need to better fund liver research
and obtain commitments from decision and policy makers to do so.”
Opportunities
Peck-Radosavljevic also explained that HEPAMAP identifies opportunities
for stakeholders to significantly reduce liver mortality and decrease the
burden of liver conditions in the EU by the end of 2020. Even if
improvements have been made in the past 30 years regarding the
knowledge and management of liver disease, he said, there are still 29
A roadmap for liver disease
With liver diseases posing a significant challenge in Europe,
Horizon 2020
Projects
looks at the EASL’s launch of the HEPAMAP
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H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
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In 2013, liver cirrhosis accounted for around 170,000 deaths in Europe
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