Action plan for liver disease research


The Liver Disease Research Branch of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) has recently led the development of a trans-NIH Action Plan for Liver Disease Research. The genesis of the Action Plan was a Congressional request asking for more focus for NIH-funded liver disease research. In response, the NIH created a Liver Disease Research Branch (LDRB) in the NIDDK and established a Liver Disease Subcommittee of the Digestive Diseases Interagency Coordinating Committee, a congressionally mandated committee responsible for coordination of digestive disease research activities among components of the NIH and other federal agencies. The Subcommittee, with significant leadership by the LDRB, was charged with creating a trans-NIH Action Plan for Liver Disease Research.

The Action Plan document will be published in December 2004. The Action Plan consists of 16 chapters on specific topic areas of liver disease research, as well as introductory and summary chapters. Each chapter was written by staff of the LDRB based on advice and input from a 5- to 8-person Working Group of research investigators, academicians, physicians, and concerned laypersons, as well as a representative from the Liver Disease Subcommittee. Each chapter includes an introductory and background section, a summary of recent advances, a central section describing important research goals in the future, and a final section describing steps to achieve the goals. Each chapter is followed by a 3-by-3 matrix containing 9 to 16 concisely worded research goals. The goals are categorized in the matrix as either low-, medium-, or high-risk and as short-, medium-, or long-term. The Action Plan also includes introductory chapters that provide an overview of the burden of liver disease in the United States and rationale for developing an Action Plan. The titles of the 16 topic chapters, the chairpersons (listed first), and the membership of the Working Groups for the topic areas are listed below.

  • Cell and Molecular Biology: Drs. Allan Wolkoff, Irwin Arias, Laura Beretta, Anne Hubbard, Mark McNiven, Michael Nathanson, and Jose Serrano

  • Cell Injury, Repair, Inflammation and Fibrosis: Drs. Gregory Gores, Mark Czaja, Scott Friedman, Jacquelyn Maher, John Lemasters, Don Rockey, and Jay Hoofnagle

  • Developmental Biology and Regeneration: Drs. Nelson Fausto, Bin Gao, Markus Grompe, Mark Kay, George Michalopoulos, Kenneth Zaret, David Shafritz, and Jose Serrano

  • Bile, Bilirubin and Cholestasis: Drs. James Boyer, Sawkat Anwer, Irwin Arias, John Chiang, David Cohen, Norman Javitt, and Jay Hoofnagle

  • Viral Hepatitis: Drs. Stanley Lemon, Harvey Alter, Francis Chisari, Jeffrey Glenn, William Mason, Charles Rice, Lesyle Johnson, and Leonard Seeff

  • HIV and Liver Disease: Drs. David Thomas, Margaret Koziel, Jules Levin, Marion Peters, Ken Sherman, Thomas Kresina, Katherine Davenny, and Fulvia Veronese

  • Fatty Liver Disease: Drs. Anna Mae Diehl, David Crabb, Joannes Hoek, Craig McClain, Arun Sanyal, and Sam Zakhari

  • Drug-Induced Liver Disease: Drs. Niel Kaplowitz, Timothy Macdonald, Sidney Nelson, Lance Pohl, Robert Roth, John Senior, Paul Watkins, and Carol Shreffler

  • Autoimmune Liver Disease: Drs. John Vierling, Nora Bergasa, Nicholas Crispe, Eric Gershwin, James Gorham, Keith Lindor, Barbara Rehermann, and Stephen James

  • Pediatric Liver Disease: Drs. Jorge Bezerra, Saul Karpen, David Perlmutter, Ron Sokol, Frederick Suchy, Tonse Raju, and Gilman Grave

  • Genetic Liver Disease: Drs. Bruce Bacon, Nancy Andrews, Herbert Bonkovsky, Joseph Bloomer, Jonathan Gitlin, Caroline Philpott, and Alan Guttmacher

  • Liver Transplantation: Drs. Jean Emond, Michael Lucey, Sue McDiarmid, Kim Olthoff, John Roberts, Hugo Rosen, and James Everhart

  • Complications of Liver Disease: Drs. Thomas Boyer, Andres Blei, Michael Fallon, Roberto Groszmann, Michael Henderson, William Lee, and Leonard Seeff

  • Liver Cancer: Drs. Adrian Di Bisceglie, Michael Abecassis, Brian Carr, Snorri Thorgeirsson, Jack Wands, and Jaye Viner

  • Gallbladder and Biliary Disease: Drs. Sum Lee, Martin Carey, Michael Kimmey, Nicholas LaRusso, Henry Pitt, and James Everhart

  • Imaging and Biotechnology: Drs. King Li, Glenn Krinsky, Jonathan Kruskal, Fred Lee, and Alan McLaughlin.

A total of 213 research goals were identified in the Action Plan. Several research goals from different Working Groups were similar or overlapped, and many were interactive and interdependent. The Action Plan ends with an implementation and assessment chapter and a final summary recommendations chapter. The summary recommendations chapter lists 10 benchmark research goals that encompass the broad range of liver disease research and were mentioned in multiple topic areas. These benchmark research goals will be used to measure the progress of research outlined in the Action Plan.

The Action Plan will be available on the web at: in December 2004, at which time hard copies can be ordered through the web site.