A new compound that binds to, and enables MRI imaging of, liver cells in the early stage of disease, has been developed by scientists supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the NIH.
Researchers report that, in imaging studies of animal models of liver disease, the new compound (a protein-based MRI contrast agent) can accurately detect early stages of chronic liver disease, including mild fibrosis.
The new compound was also able to assess the severity or stage of liver damage without the need of biopsy. An invasive procedure that involves the surgical removal of liver tissue, biopsy is the current standard for diagnosing and staging chronic liver diseases.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of alcohol use disorder.