Lay Summaries - Volume 2 Issue 1

Lay Summary:  An epigenetic clock based on DNA methylation has been proposed as a marker of age. In liver diseases such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, age acceleration based on this epigenetic clock has been observed. Herein, we show that patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis have marked age acceleration, which is further accentuated by worsening fibrosis. This measure of age acceleration could be a useful marker for prognostication or risk stratification in primary sclerosing cholangitis.
Lay Summary:  Am I at high risk of getting sicker and dying? This is the key question on the mind of patients with cirrhosis. The problem is that we have very few tools to help guide our patients, particularly if they have early cirrhosis (without symptoms like confusion or fluid in the belly). We found that how much muscle and fat the patient has and what that muscle or fat looks like on a CT scan provide helpful information. This is important because many patients have CT scans and this information is hiding in plain sight.
Lay Summary:  Liver fibrosis is a major driver of liver disease progression. Herein, we have shown that granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) plays an important role in the development of liver fibrosis. Our findings support the use of anti-GM-CSF neutralising antibodies for the management of patients with chronic liver disease resulting from both viral and non-viral causes.
Lay Summary:  CCL24 is a chemokine that regulates inflammation and fibrosis. It was found to be significantly expressed in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, in whom it regulates profibrotic processes in the liver. Herein, we show that blockade of CCL24 using a monoclonal antibody robustly attenuated liver fibrosis and inflammation in animal models, thus suggesting a potential therapeutic role for an anti-CCL24 agent.
Lay Summary:  The ability to efficiently and safely correct disease-causing mutations remains the holy grail of gene therapy. Herein, we demonstrate, for the first time, efficient in vivo correction of a patient-specific disease-causing mutation in the OTC gene in primary human hepatocytes, using therapeutically relevant vector doses. We also highlight the challenges that need to be overcome for this technology to be translated into clinical practice.