The NIH funds network to study drug-induced liver injury (DILIN)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a network of five clinical centers and a data coordinating center to conduct studies over the next three years of patients who have suffered severe liver injury because of both prescription and "over-the-counter medications," nutritional supplements, alternative medicines and herbals. The DILIN centers are located in North Carolina, Indiana, San Francisco, Michigan, and Connecticut, and will be awarded $2.25 million per year.

One objective of DILIN is to develop standardized definitions and instruments to identify and fully characterize cases of drug-induced liver injury. With a systematic way of classifying drug-induced liver injury, researchers will be able to analyze the epidemiology and clinical issues of liver injury and collect biological samples that can be used to study the causes of liver toxicity using biochemical, serological, and genetic testing. The DILIN is sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), one of the institutes of the NIH.

Another objective of DILIN is to establish a registry of patients who have experienced severe drug induced liver injury. "Part of the difficulty in studying drug-induced liver disease is the absence of a sufficient cohort of well-characterized patients in whom to carry out clinical, genetic, immunological and biochemical investigation," says Jose Serrano, M.D., Ph.D, director, NIDDKs' Liver and Biliary Diseases Program and coordinator of the DILIN. "DILIN will help to eliminate this barrier and advance the understanding of drug-induced liver injury forward," he adds.

Drug-induced liver injury occurs in all age groups, but most cases occur within the elderly population because they take more medications than younger persons and also use multiple medications. Furthermore, drug-induced liver injury is the most common reason why drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or

Contact: Leslie Curtis
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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