Kashmiri doctor part of team discovering new use of diabetes drug

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A study presented at Chicago earlier this month by a Kashmiri doctor has shown how a drug used in type-2 diabetes also reduces liver fat in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
A new use of empagliflozin, a treatment for type-2 diabetes has been demonstrated by a randomized controlled study – E-LIFT Trial. The drug has been shown to reduce liver fat in patients with NAFLD and diabetes. The findings of the trial were presented recently by Dr M Shafi Kuchay, a Kashmiri doctor working in division of endocrinology and diabetes at Medanta Medicity Hospital Gurugram at the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago.
The study findings have been widely covered by newspapers and scientific journals worldwide.
Dr Ambrish Mithal, Chair of the division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Medanta Medicity, Gurugram, India and head of the team that carried out the trials said, “The initial results are promising and open up the possibility that empagliflozin may provide additional benefits for patients with diabetes.”
“In people with type-2 diabetes, NAFLD is common and can progress to a severe liver disease known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), fibrosis, cirrhosis and even to liver cancer in some patients”. He said, “Despite this risk, there are no approved medications for treating NAFLD or NASH, and agents like metformin, pioglitazone and vitamin E have had limited success in reducing liver fat.”
“Our results suggest that empagliflozin may help in treating NAFLD,” he said.
Speaking about the significance of the study, its principal investigator, Dr Kuchay said, “The prevalence of fatty liver in patients with type-2 diabetes is estimated to be 50% and higher, leading to numerous trials looking for new drugs to treat NAFLD.”
He said that it was not yet known whether the drug reduces inflammation, or if it reduces cardiovascular risk later on and that larger studies were needed to determine that. “However, reducing liver fat is believed to be the first step in improving liver disease,” he said.
The team measured liver fat using an MRI-derived proton density fat fraction technique.
The study, funded by the Endocrine and Diabetes Foundation India in New Delhi, included 50 patients who were 40 years or older and had type 2 diabetes and NAFLD.
Empagliflozin was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014 for adults with type 2 diabetes.

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