Public Release: 

Marshall University joins clinical trial for late-stage fatty liver disease

Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of an investigational drug for late-stage liver disease is now available at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

"The most serious liver complication of obesity is Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis, or NASH, which is very common in West Virginia and the Tri-State region," said Uma Sundaram, M.D., a board-certified gastroenterologist at Marshall Health, vice dean for research and graduate education at the School of Medicine and the school's principal investigator of this clinical trial. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), West Virginia ranked ninth in the nation in 2017 for its chronic liver disease/cirrhosis mortality rates.

The trial, which is part of the ongoing Phase 3 AURORA study through Allergan, is being conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the investigational drug for the treatment of liver fibrosis in adult patients 18 to 75 with NASH. The approach evaluates the effectiveness of the investigational drug, compared to the placebo. Participants will attend regularly scheduled study visits with Marshall Health physicians for ongoing assessment.

NASH is inflammation and damage in the liver, due to a build-up of fat. It is a more serious form of liver disease within a group of conditions called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). It is common for people to have a build-up of fat in the liver, and for most, it causes no symptoms or health problems. However, for some people, the buildup of fat over time causes inflammation and damage to the cells in the liver. NASH can lead to more serious conditions, namely cirrhosis and liver cancer.


Marshall is now recruiting patients in stage 2 or 3 of NASH for the multi-year study. There is no charge to participate in the study, including diagnosis, testing and investigational drug. For more information about the study, please contact Nicole Finley by phone at 304-691-1836 or by e-mail at, or Carrie Chapman by phone at 304-691-1841 or by e-mail at

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