The Japan Society of Hepatology
Liver disease has been a national disease in Japan. When speaking of liver disease, the first thing that comes to the minds of people in general is likely excessive consumption of alcohol. It is not surprising that excessive drinking will cause problems in the liver. There are, however, other major causes that bring on liver disease, that is, hepatitis virus infection (hepatitis B, hepatitis C) and lifestyle diseases related to obesity.
The treatment of hepatitis C has entered a new era since 2012. Specific molecular targeted drugs for the hepatitis C virus have been newly developed, and one of the drugs, a protease inhibitor, has been approved to be in the market. It is expected that several new drugs will also be approved. Moreover, the treatment of hepatitis C patients, who had been difficult to cure, has become more effective. Furthermore, the treatment methods for hepatitis B have been improved as well. For the difficult-to-cure severe hepatitis B patients, it is now possible to stop the progress of the disease and alleviate the symptoms by controlling the amount of virus. However, the problem is the fact that there are still many who are not aware of their liver diseases in the cases of both hepatitis B and hepatitis C. We may say that it is one of our important missions to identify such patients to recommend them to receive antiviral therapy.
Recently, it has been discovered that obesity-related lifestyle diseases are causing liver diseases, in particular, liver cirrhosis and cancer. The non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is attracting attention and it is essential to find out how the disease occurs and develop treatments. Moreover, there is a mountain of issues hepatologists should address, such as an increase in the cases of non-B, non-C hepatocellular carcinoma and the clarification of the relationship between diabetes and liver diseases. The Japan Society of Hepatology will further work on these issues, utilizing the abilities of young members in particular.
The Japan Society of Hepatology was approved as a corporation in 1986. The Society has worked to promote the progress and spread of the research in hepatology and contributed to the development of science. It has been transformed to a general incorporated association from April 1, 2013. This Society marks its 50th anniversary in 2014. It will start anew under a new system at this memorable time. We are determined to continue working to make a greater contribution in a wider area for the further development of hepatology in Japan.
We thank members and citizens for providing further cooperation and support.