If you are obese, diabetic, have concerns about your liver, have not been tested for Hepatitis C, or are a caregiver for someone with any of these concerns but don't have easy access to information or testing this program will be of interest to you. The target group is the 40 million or so co-morbid diabetes/NAFLD/NASH patients. Up to 70% of type 2 diabetics have undiagnosed liver disease. Liver fibrosis is about 4 times as likely to be fatal as is diabetes. This patient group is our initial target for screening.
Detail follows, but the goals of the project in broad terms are these:
- PHASE 1 CONCEPT MODEL
- Assume 15 temporary locations 50 weeks per year
- Over a two year cycle we expect to produce these results
- 16,000,000 individual contacts
- 165,000 Fibroscans performed
- 84,000 potential medical referrals
- 150,000 foundation members who opt in to receiving clinical trial info
- Build the system out in units of 15 to a total of 400.
The long term goal is to have 400 testing locations seeing 1,000,000 patients a year. Consider this summary of the risk of dying because of a few of these diseases. Note that fibrosis is about 7 times as likely to kill you as diabetes yet most fibrosis is undiagnosed.
If you really would like to find out if your liver is a concern you may be surprised to learn that it is the official policy of the medical standards of practice boards not to screen for liver disease. Unless you are already sick insurance probably won't pay for the test and even worse there aren't very many testing systems available. Currently the only economical tool for screening is Fibroscan but unless you are fortunate to live in the right place it may be hard to find one.
We are glad you asked!
The Fatty Liver Foundation has championed a nationwide program to provide liver screening services in cooperation with Intercept Pharmaceuticals and Echosens, the manufacturer of Fibroscan, to make it possible for people who have a concern for their liver health to get an inexpensive scan. Since insurance doesn't normally cover screening for people who aren't sick yet it will be on a private pay basis but as a nonprofit foundation we believe we can deliver the service at a price that is affordable.
You can help us build this system by becoming a member of the foundation and making a tax deductible gift.
If you have any doubts about whether you want this test even if you aren't sick, watch this video from Harvard Medical. Remember Fatty Liver disease can be managed if you start early. Waiting until you are sick usually means you will die young. There is no treatment once a liver reaches cirrhosis and it is common for that to happen without symptoms. If you are or have been obese you may be at risk. There are many liver diseases but fatty liver can be managed if caught early.