Research at the Liver Center

The research mission of the Liver Center in the Digestive Healthcare Center at Massachusetts General Hospital is to advance the understanding of diseases of the liver, and to translate our research discoveries into novel diagnostics, biomarkers and treatments.

Blood on Slide

Research Labs by Area of Interest

Cancer Center

Cholestatic and Autoimmune Liver Disease

Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Hepatic Fibrosis

Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition

Surgical Oncology

Viral Hepatitis

 

Research at the Mass General Liver Center

The development of novel treatment approaches for the management of chronic and acute liver diseases is a major focus of the laboratories and translational research teams that comprise the Liver Center in the Digestive Healthcare Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Our researchers investigate all aspects of liver disease:

  • Viral hepatitis
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Obesity, metabolism and nutrition
  • Hepatic fibrosis
  • Cholestatic and autoimmune liver disease
  • Heptocellular and biliary cancer
  • Surgical oncology

In Vivo Disease Modeling

We use an extensive human tissue repository and animal models to study liver disease in vivo (in living tissue).

Our patients have graciously partnered with us to donate blood and tissue samples to establish an extensive biobank as a resource to explore the basis of new treatments for liver disease. Our biobank includes samples from patients with conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis B and C, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis and hepatocellular cancer.

We analyze the data for both discovery and for focused investigation of individual factors that influence disease outcome.

In discovery-oriented analysis, we probe the blood and tissue samples to identify potential indicators of disease pathogenesis, which we can then target for treatment. In addition, we can examine how an individual molecule or biomarker is expressed in the progression of liver disease.

The Liver Center has also developed unique animal models of liver disease, including mice with immune systems that are designed to model human immune systems. By using these models, our researchers track the progression of liver disease and test the expression of key genes or proteins, as well as the activity of therapeutic molecules.

The translational staff at the Liver Center continues to be active in designing proof-of-concept clinical trials to test the efficacy of the new diagnostics, treatments and biomarkers in the management of patients with liver disease.

Innovative Imaging Tools

Working in conjunction with investigators at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, researchers at the Liver Center are developing unique, non-invasive imaging agents for fibrosis, the major driving force in the progression of liver disease.

This technology is now being adapted for human use and could provide important insights into the success of new therapeutic agents for liver disease.

Pathology Samples

New technological innovations have made it possible to perform DNA, RNA and protein analysis on archived pathology specimens, allowing us to extend our discovery to many more samples.

We are now incorporating these samples in our analysis to enhance our ability to both uncover and validate new insights into disease pathogenesis.

Collaborate With Us

Researchers from academia and industry are invited to collaborate with us as we work to identify new ways to diagnose and treat liver disease.

If you are interested in learning more about collaborating with the Liver Center and our investigators, please contact:

Raymond Chung, MD
Director, Liver Center
rtchung@partners.org
617-724-7562

Liver Center news for clinicians

Read and sign up to receive the Mass General Liver Center e-newsletter for clinicians who treat patients with liver disease.