Current status of novel antifibrotic therapies in patients with chronic liver disease

2011 Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology 4;6 (391-417)

Fibrosis accumulation is a dynamic process resulting from a wound-healing response to acute or chronic liver injury of all causes. The cascade starts with hepatocyte necrosis and apoptosis, which instigate inflammatory signaling by chemokines and cytokines, recruitment of immune cell populations, and activation of fibrogenic cells, culminating in the deposition of extracellular matrix. These key elements, along with pathways of transcriptional and epigenetic regulation, represent fertile therapeutic targets. New therapies include drugs specifically designed as antifibrotics, as well as drugs already available with well-established safety profiles, whose mechanism of action may also be antifibrotic. At the same time, the development of noninvasive fibrogenic markers, and techniques (e.g. fibroscan), as well as combined scoring systems incorporating serum and clinical features will allow improved assessment of therapy response. In aggregate, the advances in the elucidation of the biology of fibrosis, combined with improved technologies for assessment will provide a comprehensive framework for design of antifibrotics and their analysis in well-designed clinical trials. These efforts may ultimately yield success in halting the progression of, or reversing, liver fibrosis.

Pubmed : 22043231