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Conference focuses on new ideas concerning liver treatment

2012/02/16 20:58:07

Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) International hepatology experts advocated Thursday new ideas for the treatment of liver diseases at the 22nd Conference of the Asia Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL).

The conference, held under the banner "Advancing Hepatology in the New Era: Milestones and Perspectives," focused on new ideas for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver cancer, APASL President Kao Jia-horng said at the four-day conference in Taipei that kicked off Thursday.

It is hoped that the conference can educate medical staff and help them provide better care to patients, Kao added.

One idea to be discussed at the conference was a set of guidelines to govern noninvasive techniques to diagnose liver diseases.

New diagnosis techniques will not rely on obtaining tissue samples through liver punctures, which are deemed unnecessary, explained Academia Sinica member Liao Yun-fan.

Participants at the conference will therefore be discussing the formulation of guidelines to govern other noninvasive diagnosis methods, such as measuring virus quantities, and testing viral genes and liver fibers, Liao added.

Kaohsiung Municipal Ta-Tung Hospital President Yu Ming-lung outlined another new approach.

Future treatment for hepatitis C patients in Asia will be based on the quantity of virus genes detected, Yu said, referring to the two different types of virus strands that effect Asian people differently.

Meanwhile, a number of eminent experts have been invited by the APASL to give speeches at the four-day event.

German virologist and Nobel Prize winner Harald zur Hausen delivered a speech to explain the relationship between infections and cancer.

Liver cancer caused by hepatitis B virus infections works similarly to cervical cancer caused by human papillomavirus infections, a fact that is applicable to liver cancer studies, said zur Hausen.

Other experts invited to speak at the conference included 95-year-old Sung Juei-low, dubbed the "Father of Taiwan Liver Diseases," whose research proved that the hepatitis B virus was the main cause of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer in Taiwan.

Over 3,700 participants from 56 countries are expected to attend the conference. It has been a decade since Taiwan last hosted the event.

(By Chen Ching-fang and C.J. Lin)