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A congress at the University of Navarra focuses on new treatments against viral hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer

The 5th Frontiers of Hepatology Congress brought together more than 200 researchers from various countries

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Jesus Prieto, Gisa Tiegs and Helene Gilgenkranz. FOTO: Manuel Castells
06/10/06 13:34 Mª Pilar Huarte

The 5th Frontiers of Hepatology Congress, organized by the University Hospital of Navarra, focused over the course of two days on new treatments against viral hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Thirty speakers -doctors and researchers from France, Germany, Holland, England, Switzerland, Italy and Spain- presented their papers to an audience of more than 190 specialists and researchers in various areas of basic and clinical hepatology.

Jesús Prieto, organizer of the congress held at the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA), declared today that "the principal objective of this interdisciplinary congress consists in promoting an exchange of experiences, as well as combined projects and collaboration in order to eradicate liver disease."

In addition, Dr. Prieto, director of the Department of Internal Medicine of the University Hospital, highlighted the need to establish connections between basic research and clinical science in order to put an end to the diseases suffered by the liver. This is a labor which, according to this specialist, "should be taken on by hospital doctors, internal medicine specialists, hepatologists, and gastroenterologists."

Gene Therapy against liver cancer

Dr. Prieto also focused on the importance of new strategies for stimulating liver regeneration, the application of genomics and proteomics in the diagnosis of liver diseases, and the advances in cellular and molecular biology of the liver, "which permit us to understand in depth the degenerative processes of this organ."

As director of the area of Genetic Therapy and Hepatology of the CIMA of the University of Navarra, he explained the usefulness of the immunotherapeutic methods which are being developed at this center, which will aid in the treatment of viral hepatitis and tumors. "In addition, we have characterized the biological effects of certain cytokynes that may play a very important role in the production of drugs for protecting the liver, as well as other substances for strengthening the antiviral activity of interferon," he concluded.

Among other congress attendees, researchers attended from the University of Munich, the University Medical Center of Leiden (Holland), the Hepatology Institute of the University College of London, the Institute Cochin INSERM of Paris and the Gregorio Marañón Hospital of Madrid.

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