Newswise — Despite many advancements in liver transplantation — like the cure for the hepatitis C virus — liver disease continues to impact people of all ages and cultures across the globe.

As the prevalence of liver disease continues to rise across the world, the growing number of people impacted by cirrhosis, liver cancer, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, is the focus of more than 1,700 of the world’s leading liver disease experts who are meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, this week to share innovative research that aims to identify and enhance prevention techniques and improve outcomes.

“Every year, this meeting brings together the brightest minds in liver transplantation and encourages the transition of knowledge from one country to another,” said Michael Charlton, MD, associate director of the Intermountain Medical Center Transplant Program in Salt Lake City, who is current president of the International Liver Transplantation Society. “Over the years I’ve watched this global exchange of best practice information and evidence-based medicine on how to provide the very best possible outcomes for patients. All of the research presented here has very practical applications for caregivers throughout the world.”

The 2017 International Joint Congress of the International Liver Transplantation Society (ILTS), the European Liver and Intestine Transplant Association (ELITA), and the Liver Intensive Care Group of Europe (LICAGE) is being held May 24-27 in Prague.

One of the most anticipated elements of the meeting is the presentation of 10 of the world’s most innovative and high-impact research studies. This includes: 

  • Identifying patients who will do better or worse after transplant for liver cancer — and, with this knowledge, where caregivers must focus their attention in the future.
  • Being able to expand the potential donor pool of organs available for liver transplantation by using newly developed tests and technologies like ex-vivo perfusion.
  • Identifying patients with severe alcoholic liver disease who might be suitable for liver transplantation, but who aren’t current candidates.
  • The impact of treating patients with the most severe liver disease due to hepatitis C before transplant — with a focus on preventing the need for transplants when possible while not committing others to MELD (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) purgatory. 

Research centers presenting late-breaking research include Intermountain Healthcare's Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City; King’s College Hospital in London; University Hospital RWTH in Aachen, Germany; Anan Medical Center in Seoul, Korea; and St. James Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.

“This meeting is a critically important component in the voice for research,” said hepatologist Richard Gilroy, MD, medical director of the Intermountain Medical Center Liver Transplant Program. “It brings together all of the leaders from transplant programs throughout the world with the objective of improving the way we help our patients live the healthiest life possible.”

This year’s conference will be the largest in history and includes doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, surgeons, infectious disease physicians, radiologists, and several other subspecialties from more than 80 countries who treat liver disease in all its facets.

Intermountain Medical Center (@Intermtnmedctr) and other attendees and organizations will be sharing the latest research from the conference on Twitter using the hashtag #ILTS2017.