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Dr. Bezerra specializes in biliary atresia research. It’s the single most common cause of end-stage liver disease in children and the number one indication for pediatric liver transplants.

He explains to listeners

  • The ways this diseases causes harm, including the obstruction of biliary ducts;
  • The importance of early diagnosis and its connection to survival rates; and
  • New breakthroughs improving testing for the disease and treatment of epithelial cells in the ducts.

Jorge A. Bezerra is Director of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and Medical Director of the Pediatric Liver Care Center at the University of Cincinnati. He is also a professor in the Department of Pediatrics.

In this podcast, he carefully explains the progression of pediatric biliary atresia and research addressing this disease of the liver. He tells listeners that this indicates a closure or obstruction of the liver’s biliary ducts in the first three months after birth. In the first few weeks of life, parents notice yellow jaundice in the infant’s eyes and pale stools. He remarks that immediate treatment including surgery offers the most benefit.

He then explains a few gastroenterology hypothesizes for when this actually starts. A recent study found that babies that develop this disease often have slightly abnormal bilirubin increases at birth, which indicates that it most likely is a prenatal disease. He adds that if a baby is diagnosed early and taken to surgery, there’s a much higher possibility that surgery will work.

He finishes with several breakthroughs in treating this disease and means of testing. For example, researchers have developed a novel test that can be given very early with fast results.  Testing normally requires a liver biopsy and as long as two weeks for results. He also talks about liver organoid research that has led to a new way to treat the epithelial cells of the ducts.

For more, see his lab’s website:

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