New partnership to prioritise alcohol-related liver disease treatment uncertainties

Published: 17 March 2015

This week sees the official launch of an important Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) set up by the James Lind Alliance (JLA) to identify and prioritise unanswered questions about alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD).

ARLD can be a range of liver damage varying from simple fatty liver, through fibrosis, to cirrhosis, portal hypertension and chronic liver failure, frequently accompanied by sudden episodes of acute or chronic cholestatic liver failure (termed alcoholic hepatitis). The Office for National Statistics suggests that in 2012, ARLD was responsible for the majority of alcohol-related deaths, most of which were among those aged 50-59 years.

Professor Dame Sally C. Davies FRS FMedSci, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health, said:

"The number of people with alcohol-related liver disease has been increasing over the last few decades: death rates have risen considerably in this time and alcohol is now one of the most common causes of death in the UK, so this is an important area for research. It’s vital that we bring together patients, carers and clinicians to decide jointly what the priorities for research are in this area, and the NIHR is pleased to support the James Lind Alliance in doing so." 

Set up through the JLA and funded by the NIHR and the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG), the new JLA PSP is guided by a steering group and supported by a number of organisations including The British Liver Trust, and Alcohol Health Alliance UK. The PSP will complete in 2016, publishing a list of ‘top ten’ questions that will present opportunities for high-quality research to help tackle the disease.

The project encourages members of the public to get involved by completing an online survey. The survey will be available on our survey page later in the spring and is designed to collect questions from patients, carers and clinicians about ARLD to inform the ‘top ten’ priorities for treatments.

If people wish to be notified when the survey becomes available, they can do so by joining our mailing list by emailing us at

To help put ARLD research in the spotlight and to get involved, visit or email any questions.

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