Brighton University gets EU funding for liver disease R&D

As part of a European consortium led by University College London, it is sharing in a €5.9m grant

Susan Sandeman, School of Pharmacy, University of Brighton

The University of Brighton is sharing in a €5.9m EU grant to support the development of a new treatment for chronic liver disease as part of a European consortium led by University College London.

Cirrhosis of the liver affects 29 million Europeans, claims 170,000 lives every year and costs the EU almost €16bn. There are several causes of liver disease; but, the increasing incidence of obesity and excessive alcohol consumption is causing a rapid rise in the number of cases seen across Europe.

Changes in the bacteria that populate the gut in patients with liver disease make the condition worse and leads to a range of additional health complications. Current treatments include the use of antibiotics to kill the gut bacteria but the long-term use of these drugs can result in antibiotic resistance and can also be very costly.

The University of Brighton’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences will receive £189,751 of the grant for laboratory work to assist with trials of a new and safe nanoporous carbon that acts in the gut to reduce the passage of bacterial products into the blood, which exacerbate liver injury.

The school’s Dr Susan Sandeman said: ‘Existing therapies to prevent the recurrent complications of advanced cirrhosis include the use of poorly absorbed antibiotics. However, long-term antibiotic therapy has problems associated with bacterial resistance, which can be expensive. We will be part of a consortium investigating the safety and efficacy of this novel nanoporous carbon in patients with liver disease and developing an innovative and cost-effective strategy for disease management.’

The EU research project, called CARBALIVE, has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement number 634579).

For further information about the University of Brighton’s research into biomaterials and medical devices, click here.

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