Liver Investigation: Testing Marker Utility in Steatohepatitis


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which occurs when fat builds up in the liver, affects around 20-30 % of the population worldwide. In most people, NAFLD does not cause health problems. However, a small proportion (less than 10 %) of people with NAFLD will go on to develop a more serious condition called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The livers of people with NASH are characterised by inflammation and scarring, and they are at a greater risk of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer. The challenge for doctors is identifying which NAFLD patients will go on to develop NASH and, for those with NASH, predicting how fast the disease will progress. Currently, diagnosis requires a liver biopsy, an invasive, often painful procedure that requires a hospital stay. As a result, many patients are not diagnosed until their disease is relatively advanced. The lack of a simple diagnostic tool also hampers the development of new treatments for NAFLD and NASH.

The goal of the LITMUS project is therefore to develop and validate highly accurate blood tests and imaging techniques that will allow doctors and researchers to rapidly and easily diagnose the severity of patients’ disease and monitor changes in patients’ livers. The tests should also make it possible to predict which NAFLD patients are at greatest risk of developing NASH, and how fast their disease is likely to progress.

The impacts of the project will be twofold. For patients and doctors, the tests will ensure that patients are diagnosed earlier and more easily. For researchers, the tests will make it easier to carry out clinical studies on NAFLD/NASH, including trials of potential treatments.

Achievements & News


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EFPIA companies
  • Abbvie Inc, North Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Astrazeneca AB, Södertälje, Sweden
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Internationalgmbh, Ingelheim, Germany
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Corp, Princeton, NJ, United States
  • Eli Lilly And Company LTD, Basingstoke, United Kingdom
  • Ellegaard Gottingen Minipigs As, Dalmose, Denmark
  • Genfit, Loos, France
  • Gilead Sciences Inc, Foster City Ca, United States
  • Intercept Pharma Europe LTD, Bristol, United Kingdom
  • Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland
  • Novo Nordisk A/S, Bagsvaerd, Denmark
  • Pfizer Limited, Sandwich, Kent , United Kingdom
  • Somalogic Inc, Boulder, United States
  • Takeda Pharmaceuticals International AG, Glattpark-Opfikon (Zurich), Switzerland
Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups
  • Asociacion Centro De Investigacion Cooperativa En Biociencias, Derio, Spain
  • Assistance Publique Hopitaux De Paris, Paris, France
  • Ethniko Kai Kapodistriako Panepistimio Athinon, Athens, Greece
  • European Association For The Studyof The Liver, Zürich, Switzerland
  • Faculdade De Medicina Da Universidade De Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
  • Fondation Cardiometabolisme Nutrition, Paris, France
  • Linkopings Universitet, Linkoping, Sweden
  • Luxembourg Institute Of Health, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • Orebro University, Örebro, Sweden
  • Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, United States
  • Servicio Andaluz De Salud, Sevilla, Spain
  • Stichting Amsterdam Umc, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • The University Of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • The University Of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom
  • Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy
  • Universita Degli Studi Di Milano, Milano, Italy
  • Universita Degli Studi Di Palermo, Palermo, Italy
  • Universita Degli Studi Di Torino, Turin, Italy
  • Universitaet Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • Universitaetsklinikum Aachen, Aachen, Germany
  • Universitaetsklinikum Wuerzburg - Klinikum Der Bayerischen Julius-Maximilians-Universitat, Wuerzburg, Germany
  • Universitaetsmedizin Der Johannes Gutenberg-Universitaet Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpen, Edegem, Belgium
  • Universite D'Angers, Angers, France
  • University Of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • University of Helsinki, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized companies (<€500 m turnover)
  • Antaros Medical AB, Mölndal, Sweden
  • Ixscient Limited, Uxbridge, United Kingdom
  • Nordic Bioscience A/S, Herlev, Denmark
  • One Way Liver SL, Derio, Spain
  • Perspectum LTD, Oxford, United Kingdom
Third parties
  • Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Roma, Italy
  • Sorbonne Universite, Paris, France
  • Universita Degli Studi Di Firenze, Florence, Italy
Non EFPIA companies
  • Echosens, Paris, France
  • Histoindex Pte LTD, Singapore, Singapore
  • Resoundant, Inc., Rochester, United States

NameEU funding in €
Antaros Medical AB231 275
Asociacion Centro De Investigacion Cooperativa En Biociencias403 018
Assistance Publique Hopitaux De Paris323 000
Ethniko Kai Kapodistriako Panepistimio Athinon118 350
European Association For The Studyof The Liver61 680
Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade de Lisboa56 969
Faculdade De Medicina Da Universidade De Lisboa78 488
Fondation Cardiometabolisme Nutrition536 719
Ixscient Limited344 375
Linkopings Universitet99 600
Luxembourg Institute Of Health540 034
Medizinische Universitaet Wien (left the project)1 945
Nordic Bioscience A/S1 427 093
One Way Liver SL1
Orebro University312 500
Perspectum LTD257 500
Servicio Andaluz De Salud601 250
Stichting Amsterdam Umc1 180 910
The University Of Birmingham61 264
The University Of Nottingham118 115
Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore80 654
Universita Degli Studi Di Milano80 723
Universita Degli Studi Di Palermo105 081
Universita Degli Studi Di Torino330 240
Universitaet Bern435 000
Universitaetsklinikum Aachen248 076
Universitaetsklinikum Wuerzburg - Klinikum Der Bayerischen Julius-Maximilians-Universitat406 206
Universitaetsmedizin Der Johannes Gutenberg-Universitaet Mainz1 073 015
Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht273 329
Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpen167 100
Universite D'Angers122 500
University of Cambridge598 005
University of Helsinki202 500
University Of Newcastle Upon Tyne2 990 166
University of Oxford1 811 250
Third parties
NameFunding in €
Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche21 039
Sorbonne Universite85 031
Universita Degli Studi Di Firenze13 883
Total Cost15 797 884