Newcastle scientists and medics have developed a new type of genetic blood test that diagnoses scarring in the liver – even before someone may feel ill.
It is the first time an epigenetic signature in blood has been discovered which is diagnostic of the severity of fibrosis for people with Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
NAFLD, caused by being overweight or having diabetes, affects one in three people in the UK and may progress to cirrhosis and liver failure, requiring a transplant.
This scientific breakthrough has great promise because the majority of patients show no symptoms
Publishing in the academic journal GUT, the Newcastle team describe the proof of principle research in which they measure specific epigenetic markers to stratify NAFLD patients into mild or severe liver scarring, known as fibrosis.