Surfers Jörn Schattenberg, Louise Campbell and Roger Green host the Season 3, Year-in-Review episode to reflect on major themes and takeaways from a momentous 2022 in NAFLD.
The trio begin by highlighting the rewarding return to in-person conferences and events, and meeting fellow surfers for the first time offline. In response to his stepping into the role of permanent co-host, Jörn comments on the value he has derived from engaging in the ongoing dialogue supported by podcasting – something that continues to excite him even as life reverts somewhat to pre-pandemic, face-to-face interactions. The transition to on-site meetings, Roger notes, actually coincided with a rise in listenership. This leads the group to suggest the density and quality of data emerging from the field as deserving of more space for discourse outside of meetings alone. Louise also points to the diversity of perspectives championed through these conversations. For her, bringing the strength of patients to pathway development is critical and something she enjoys tuning in for on the episodes where she is absent. Roger adds that this year, the platform has really broadened its scope beyond simply drugs.
Louise segues to the subject of non-invasive technologies, pointing to some new and exciting news: NICE is on its way to approve FibroScan for all primary care physicians in the UK, so long as the patient is in a liver pathway. This predominantly includes NAFLD, Hepatitis B and fibrosis over the age of 16. FibroScan is noted to often be confused with a radiology test and not properly recognized as a type of liver elastography. It is through education and the rewriting of a pathway that FibroScan can be effectively used to achieve earlier diagnosis in many more patients with liver disease, liver fibrosis and risk in metabolic health. Jörn suggests this breakthrough supports a cross-sectional correlation between driving wellness through patient lifestyle management and cutting costs, for example, through the reduction of incidence of diabetes. From a wider metabolic perspective, assessing health through liver fat is a powerful tool to be harnessed for patient empowerment and demonstrating the influence of lifestyle interventions.
The conversation continues to address the expanding aperture of insights available not only through FibroScan, but additional technologies contributing to patient empowerment. Digital apps amongst other tools hold the possibility to reinforce the recurring theme on this podcast that liver health needs to be measured and monitored in a preventative manner as opposed to an end-stage disease outcome. Roger and Jörn briefly discuss digital tools for automating and scheduling functions built within health care systems, comparing progress in Europe versus the US. Jörn adds that, provided feasibility regarding information security concerns, linking data on a holistic level would pave a tremendous step forward for the patient experience. Roger next shifts focus to ask Jörn for any updates on the NAIL-NIT retrospective analysis previously discussed in April. Jörn refers to his experience of contributing to the LITMUS Consortia and its aim to validate a biomarker to replace liver biopsy as an outcome in clinical trials. He notes both retrospective and emerging prospective data supported an improved understanding of how a biomarker is linked to histology, and how a changed biomarker is linked to a change in histology.
At the bottom of the hour, Roger asks the group for final thoughts on changes envisioned for the next year specifically in terms of pathways. Each panelists provides thought-provoking responses to presage what is aligned to be another progressive year for the field in 2023.