Biopharmaceutical company Theratechnologies Inc. recently announced that its therapy candidate tesamorelin is effective in the treatment of HIV-associated nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). According to new data, published in JCI Insight, tesamorelin not only reduces liver fat and inflammation, but also stimulates liver tissue repair!
Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
There is no conclusive cause for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a liver disease affecting non-drinkers and those who do not drink a lot. However, potential causes include genetics, environmental factors, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol. In the case of the above study, HIV was associated with the development of NASH. Currently, around 25% of U.S. citizens are estimated to have NASH. Symptoms include:
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Loss of appetite
- Unintended weight loss
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Nausea and vomiting
- Liver scarring (cirrhosis)
Learn more about NASH here.
The Effects of Tesamorelin
According to MedlinePlus, tesamorelin is administered via subcutaneous injection. The drug, a human growth hormone-releasing factor (GRF) analog:
[decreases] the amount of extra fat in the stomach area in adults with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who have lipodystrophy (increased body fat in certain areas of the body). It works by increasing the production of a certain natural substance that can decrease the amount of body fat.
So, while tesamorelin isn’t specifically designed to affect liver fat, it is designed to (generally) reduce body fat. As a result, tesamorelin can still be effective for the treatment of NASH.
The recent study analyzes data relating to HIV-associated nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and applies it to the sphere of NASH. Researchers found that tesamorelin impacted gene expression. As a result, patients experienced heightened tissue repair and liver health, while reducing inflammation and liver fat.
Additionally, shares Dr. Christian Marsolais, tesamorelin also shows promise in improving patient outcomes for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).