Department of Gastroenterology,
Graduate School of Biomedical & Health Sciences, Hiroshima University
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Laboratory for Hepatology Research

Our laboratory provides clinical care for liver diseases including viral hepatitis such as HBV, HCV, liver cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, portal hypertension, autoimmune liver disease and acute liver failure, based on the close cooperation with surgery and radiology, and practice the high advanced multidisciplinary approach. Furthermore, for the development of the new cure, we practice various basic and clinical researches in cooperation with domestic and foreign medical institutions. In addition, we emphasize the training and education of the hepatologist.

Introduction of clinical research

Medical examination

Our target diseases are viral hepatitis, protopathic liver cancer, and NASH. Recent improvements in diagnostic methods and medical therapies in this area had been incredible. In particular, we actively target intractable hepatitis B, hepatitis C, advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. We educate experts in medical examination, training them in medical procedures such as transarterial embolization, liver biopsy, therapy of esophageal and gastric varices and therapy of radio wave ablation.

Annual numbers of examinations and procedures

Annual inspection and treatment number
  • Antiviral therapy against hepatitis B and C
  • Treatment for liver cancer
  •  Radiofrequency ablative therapy
  •  Transarterial therapy
  •  Systemic chemotherapy
Annual inspection and treatment number
  • Gastroesophageal varices
  •  EIS/EVL
  •  B-RTO
  • Liver biopsy for Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Clinical research

  • Approaches to improve the effect of anti-viral therapy for chronic viral hepatitis
    Recently, the effect of antiviral therapy for chronic viral hepatitis patients had been improved. However, some problems such as resistant viruses and recalcitrant patients are remaining. We analyze the relationships between viral and host factors for chronic hepatitis and the effect of antiviral therapy, Based on these results, we provide the most suitable therapy for individual patients. We are also actively involved in the clinical trials of a development of new therapies for chronic viral hepatitis.
  • Multidisciplinary approach for liver cancer
    We perform multidisciplinary approach for liver cancer, including hepatic resection, ablative therapy, transarterial catheter therapy (hepatic artery chemoembolization, hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy), systemic chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or liver transplantation. In addition, management for underlying hepatic disease such as viral hepatitis, metabolic disease, or liver cirrhosis is extremely important in the improvement of long-term prognosis.
    We present every treatment option and practice advanced multidisciplinary treatment for the liver cancer based on the close cooperation with internal medicine, surgery, and radiology. Furthermore, we participate in many clinical trials aiming at the development of the new cure for the liver cancer.
  • Efforts to epidemiologic study and treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
    NAFLD has been shown to be associated with multi-factors such as insulin resistance, type 2 DM, hyperlipidemia, oxidative stress, microbiome and periodontal disease. In our laboratory, we provide a medical care for NAFLD/NASH patients by treating metabolic disorders such as visceral obesity, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia. We are also working aggressively to the new clinical trial.
    We participate in the Japan Study Group of NAFLD (JSG-NAFLD; NAFLD research group consisting of University Hospitals and general hospitals), and study epidemiology and clinical research.
  • Nutrition therapy and measures of complications in patients with liver cirrhosis
    Patients with liver cirrhosis often have protein-energy malnutritions (PEM) and poor physical activities. These conditions result in sarcopenia. PEM and sarcopenia are predictive factors for poor prognosis in patients with liver cirrhosis. Therefore, it is important to carry out the appropriate nutritional therapy in patients with liver cirrhosis. We have launched a special team MCU (Metabolic Care Unit) with dietitian, physical therapists, pharmacists, nurses, diabetes physicians and digestive surgeons. MCU is making efforts to carry out a comprehensive nutrition management in liver cirrhosis patients. In addition, we are working on clinical researches based on clinical data obtained through the activities of MCU in order to improve the cirrhosis treatment. Patients with cirrhosis are associated with the development of portal hypertension, esophageal gastric varices, shunt encephalopathy and portal vein thrombosis. These complications cause gastrointestinal bleeding and exacerbation of patient's QOL. To improve the prognosis and QOL of cirrhosis patients, we are taking an aggressive approch in cooperation with the digestive surgery and radiology.

Basic research

Development of new therapies and diagnostic method using genomic information
To enhance the therapeutic effectiveness and minimize the side effects, we investigate genetic polymorphisms that may associate with the responsiveness of each agent by using SNPs as a markers. We also investigate somatic mutations occurred in hepatocellular carcinoma. Our goals are to establish personalized medicine and to contribute to development of new therapies and diagnostic method for various liver diseases.
Analysis of pathology and development of new therapies for viral hepatitis by using culture system and human hepatocellular chimeric mice
Chimpanzees are generally used for animal experiments in the study of hepatitis virus. However, we constructed a model system for infectious experiments using human hepatocellular chimeric mice in which mouse livers are extensively replaced by human hepatocytes. This system is not only used for infectious experiments but can also be applied to evaluate the efficacy of various kinds of drug. We analyze the pathology and develop new thearpis for vira hepatitis by using culture system and human hepatocellular chmeric mice.
Elucidation of the molecular mechanism and search of the new biomarker of NAFLD/NASH.
Liver biopsy is necessary as the gold standard method for the diagnosis in patients with NASH. However, this procedure is invasive and has a relatively high risk of complications. Thus, non-invasive biomarkers are required. In our laboratory, we work on the basic research related to nuclear receptor and fatty acid metabolism in animals and cell experiments, aim to improve treatment, and to establish of non-invasive diagnostic methods in miRNA and metabolome analyses using patients serum samples.

Team members

Assistant Professor:Hiroshi Aikata
Lecturer:Michio Imamura
Associate Professor or Lecturer:Daiki Miki
Assistant Professor:Tomokazu Kawaoka
Assistant Professor:Masami Yamauchi
Assistant Professor:Wataru Okamoto
Assistant Professor:Eisuke Murakami
Associate Professor or Lecturer:Takashi Nakahara
Assistant Professor:Atsushi Ohno
Assistant Professor:Hatsue Fujino
Assistant Professor:Takuro Uchida
Assistant Professor:Yuji Teraoka
Assistant Professor:Shinsuke Uchikawa
Medical Practitioner:Kenichiro Kodama
Associate Professor:Hiromi Chayama, Center for Medical Specialist Graduate Education & Research
Associate Professor:C.Nelson Hayes, Study group on Gastroenterology and Hematology
Assistant Professor (Special Appointment):Grace Naswa Makokha
Graduate Students:22

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