Ongoing Research Funded by DHF

Diagnosing Life Threatening Liver Disease (GALD) in Newborns Improves Chance of Survival

2022  | Disease: Liver/Hepatology

Principal Researcher: Sarah Taylor, MD

Principal Investigator: Sarah Taylor, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition), Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Northwestern Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine 

Gestational alloimmune liver disease (GALD) is the leading cause of liver failure in newborns. This disease occurs when maternal antibodies injure the liver of the fetus during pregnancy. Infants with GALD require prompt diagnosis and treatment at birth. Even with treatment, about 50% of infants with GALD do not survive. Quickly obtaining a precise and reliable diagnosis remains challenging. DHF’s grant is enabling Dr. Taylor’s lab to create histologic scoring criteria that can be easily disseminated to enable prompt and reliable diagnosis of GALD. Evaluating the ribonucleic acid (RNA) of livers from affected patients, the Taylor team hopes to identify new blood tests that will differentiate GALD from other causes of neonatal liver failure. Dr. Taylor’s research is fostering a better understanding of GALD’s disease process to help launch future research and the development of life-saving therapies for newborns facing this potentially deadly disease.

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