Healthy People Need a Healthy Liver

POLICY PERSPECTIVE

Healthy People Need a Healthy Liver

In some ways we are in an exciting age of innovation in therapies and interventions to address the epidemic of liver diseases, seeing an unprecedented number of  FDA-approved cures (!), vaccinations, and treatments for Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC), and Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC).  The research labs are a buzz with potential new and first time ever treatments for autoimmune liver diseases like PSC and non-alcoholic steateohepatitis (NASH), an advanced form of fatty liver disease.  However, the public health and policy world has not matched this level of recognition and activity.  One avenue for gaining this recognition could be prominent inclusion in the Healthy People 2030 plan and priorities developed by HHS. We call on liver health advocates to comment before September 29th to make the case that liver health is an essential element of U.S. public health.


OPEN ADVOCACY OPPORTUNITIES

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STD Prevention and Treatment is hosting a public meeting on October 25, 2017, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Eastern) and October 26, 2017, 9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. (Eastern). Learn more about the Advisory Committee on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STD Prevention meeting and how to participate.          
  • The Food and Drug Administration requests comments on “Additional Criteria and Procedures for Classifying Over-the-Counter Drugs as Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective and Not Misbranded”. Liver patients can offer a unique perspective on the safety and efficacy of over-the-counter drugs. Submit your comments.
  • To contribute to future health IT policies and standards, apply to become a member of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's (ONC) Health IT Advisory Committee (HITAC).
  • Learn about the FDA’s “Developing a Framework for Regulatory Use of Real-World Evidence”  workshop and get the information needed to participate. 
  • Are you a liver cancer patient or survivor? The Exercise Oncology Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is conducting an online study examining exercise programming and counseling preferences of liver cancer patients and survivors.

POLICY DEVELOPMENTS AT GLI

Advanced Advocacy Academy (A3)

GLI is proud the announce the Advanced Advocacy Academy (A3), a workshop designed to train patients with the skills they need to conduct effective advocacy. Learn more about becoming a Liver Health Advocate and apply at globalliver.org/a3.

 

Liver Cancer Landscape

GLI recently completed a landscape assessment of cancer advocacy organizations examining the liver cancer-specific resources available to patients and healthcare professionals specific. The study was done from the perspective of a naive consumer as to mimic the patient experience in finding resources specific to a diagnosis of liver cancer. Read the study to learn more about liver cancer resources and their availability.


 

GLOBAL NEWS

Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF)

CLF has launched the #ThisIsYourWarning campaign that calls for Canadians to get tested for hepatitis C. Of the approximate 250,000 Canadians living with hepatitis C, more than 44% do not know they have the disease. The campaign is aligned with CLF’s goal to eliminate hepatitis C with increased testing and preventative methods. Read about the #ThisIsYourWarning campaign and learn more about hepatitis C.

British Liver Trust

The British Liver Trust issued a press release stating the approval of a new drug for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in England.  The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently approved sorafenib (Nexavar), increasing the number of treatment options for those with advanced liver cancer. Read the press release and the NICE guidance documents.


HHS NEWS

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA approved a new drug to treat hepatitis C patients. Mavyret, which consists of glecaprevir and pibrentasvir, is now approved to treat adults with hepatitis C virus with no to mild cirrhosis. The medication is also approved in patients with kidney disease and those on dialysis. Read the press release on the approval of Mavyret.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

HHS published an article titled “Improving Cancer Control in Rural Communities” that summarizes and analyzes two studies. The studies, done by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), noted that cancer mortality rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas. In addition, rural areas are seeing a slower decrease in cancer mortality than urban areas. The article touches on the health disparities rural patients face and how to tackle these challenges. Read the article and gain access to the two studies.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Western Pacific Region has had immense success in hepatitis B elimination after the adoption of hepatitis B vaccination at birth. The African and South-East Asian regions have high rates of hepatitis B, and there is no hepatitis B vaccination policy in place in these regions. Recent studies have shown the need for infant hepatitis B vaccination if these regions hope to achieve elimination. Adult vaccination is neither cost effective, nor does it substantially decrease mother-to-child transmission of the disease. Learn more about hepatitis B vaccination and the  state of the disease in different regions across the globe.

NGOS

National Academy of Medicine (NAM)

The National Academy of Medicine is putting on a community art show that explores the ideas of health equity across the country. The Visualize Health Equity art show is part of NAM’s Culture of Health Program that supports health equity for all Americans. Learn more about the Culture of Health Program. Learn more about the Visualize Health Equity art show and submit your work.

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) recently held two forums on comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER). The forums addressed CER history, challenges and concerns, and future opportunities. CER has the potential to engage patients and healthcare stakeholders and to help patients make the best decisions for their own health. Read the summaries of each forum. Learn more about the BPC’s forums and CER.


GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Mechanisms of Disparities in Chronic Liver Diseases and Cancer
Funds available from NIH: $200,000. Application deadlines: April 4, 2018 or April 4, 2019.

HIV/HCV Co-Infections in Substance Abusers (R01)
Funds available from NIH: $3,000,000. Application deadline: January 8, 2018.

HIV and Hepatitis B Co-Infection: Advancing HBV Functional Cure through Clinical Research (R21)
Funds available from NIH: $275,000. Application deadline: May 8, 2020.

Consortium on Translational Research in Early Detection of Liver Cancer: Data Management and Coordinating Center (U24)
Funds available from NIH: $600,000. Application deadline: October 24, 2017.


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NAMES TO KNOW

Proponents of the Graham-Cassidy-Heller amendment to the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017:

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.)
(202) 224-5824

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
(202) 224-5972

Senator Dean Heller (R-Nev.)
202-224-6244