Semaglutide Study Investigates Benefits for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Semaglutide Study Investigates Benefits for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

A new study conducted by UC San Diego is examining the potential benefits of the GLP-1 agonist semaglutide in managing fibrosis associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The trial, known as SAMARA, aims to test the effectiveness of semaglutide in treating liver disease caused by NAFLD in individuals with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

NAFLD is a condition characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver, typically in individuals who consume little to no alcohol. If left untreated, NAFLD can progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which involves inflammation and changes in liver cells. Additionally, NAFLD can lead to cirrhosis, a condition marked by permanent scarring and liver damage.

Semaglutide, a GLP-1 agonist already approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity, is being investigated as a potential treatment for NAFLD. Previous research suggests that semaglutide may have benefits for liver disease due to its positive effects on both type 2 diabetes and obesity, both of which are risk factors for NAFLD.

The study aims to enroll 120 participants who will receive weekly injections of either semaglutide or a placebo for one year. Researchers will track changes in fibrosis associated with NAFLD as well as other indicators of liver health.

Liver disease is a commonly overlooked complication of type 2 diabetes, affecting an estimated 60% of individuals with the condition. Early detection is crucial, but current screening methods are not widely utilized. This study will evaluate a streamlined, noninvasive screening technique to identify individuals with type 2 diabetes and obesity who may be at risk for NAFLD.

According to Dr. Roohit Loomba, the director of the NAFLD Research Center at UC San Diego School of Medicine, liver disease is often referred to as a “silent killer” because symptoms are often unnoticeable, and many people are unaware of the disease until it has progressed to cirrhosis.

Currently, there are no medications approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of NAFLD. Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, healthy eating, reduced alcohol consumption, and increased physical activity, are the mainstays of treatment. If the semaglutide study yields positive results, it will progress to a larger phase 3 trial conducted at multiple sites worldwide. Successful outcomes in the phase 3 trial could lead to FDA approval for the use of semaglutide in treating NAFLD.

If you are interested in participating in the study, you may be eligible if you have a BMI of at least 27 or a BMI of at least 25 with pre-diabetes, a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, or an A1C level of 6.5 or higher. Screening will involve routine blood tests and a non-invasive ultrasound at your primary care doctor’s office. The study is currently recruiting participants in San Diego and may expand to include Riverside County.

For more information about the study, you can contact the study team at [email protected] or call (858) 246-2227.

In conclusion, the UC San Diego study aims to evaluate the potential benefits of semaglutide in managing fibrosis in individuals with NAFLD. This research could provide valuable insights into the treatment of liver disease associated with type 2 diabetes and obesity. Early detection of NAFLD is crucial, and the study also aims to explore a more efficient screening method for identifying at-risk individuals.

Sources:
– Clinical Trials Identifier: NCT06005012
– Trial Name: Semaglutide Treatment in the Real-world for Fibrosis Due to NAFLD in Obesity and T2DM (SAMARA)
– Trial Sponsor: University of California, San Diego

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