With the goal of better understanding the factors that put a patient at higher risk for liver disease, the grant will enable UB researchers to use big data techniques to analyze patterns of liver disease, including liver cancer, and extract credible information that can be used in the development of population health algorithms leading to the early identification of patients with liver disease or cancer.
The grant builds on a previous grant from the Troup Fund of the Kaleida Health Foundation, which was established in 1974 for the purpose of advancing cancer care in the region, in support of research by Andrew H. Talal, MD, director of the Liver Center of Western New York, professor in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, and co-principal investigator for the new grant. The earlier award allowed Talal to create a liver biorepository at UB's Clinical and Translational Research Center that today holds human samples of liver diseases from approximately three hundred patients as well as important clinical and demographic data about the individuals from which the samples were taken.
According to UB, the number of deaths in the U.S. from cirrhosis of the liver rose 65 percent between 1999 and 2016, while the number of deaths from liver cancer doubled. Cirrhosis, which is end-stage scarring of the liver, can result from hepatitis C, alcoholism, and fatty liver disease.
"We are very grateful to Kaleida Health for providing this funding at such a critical time," said Talal. "This award enables us to continue to grow and expand our program in liver diseases that was established in 2015 with an initial award from the Troup Fund."