BestTreat is a multidisciplinary research consortium aiming to improve our understanding of Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and to develop new therapies against it. It combines medical and nutritional research with bioinformatics and genetic engineering, and brings together commercial and academic partners.


What is NAFLD?


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) describes a range of conditions caused by the accumulation of excess fat in the liver. It is one of the most common diseases in the world with an estimated global occurrence of 24%. It affects largely overweight and obese individuals, who drink little or no alcohol. In its early stage, simple steatosis, it is usually not causing any harm but can develop into severe liver damage, like steatohepatitis and liver cirrhosis. It is also thought to be a major cause for liver cancer and is connected to the metabolic syndrome, a combination of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Progression of NAFLD from healthy liver to liver cirrhosis



What causes NAFLD?


NAFLD is a lifestyle disease caused by poor diet, lack of exercise and genetics. Recent research showed that gut microbiome imbalance and intestinal permeability are other factors playing a role in NAFLD progression. But not everyone, who carries the risks factors, is progressing from simple steatosis to more severe forms of NAFLD. Despite current research advances the progression mechanism and the inter-patient variability is only poorly understood.



How can BestTreat help to tackle NAFLD?


The BestTreat programme aims to combine data- and hypothesis-driven approaches with emerging experimental technologies to investigate the complex interactions between the gut microbiome and its host to identify new therapeutic avenues for NAFLD.