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Hepatitis B Foundation Endorses the Liver Illness Visibility, Education, and Research (LIVER) Act of 2018

DOYLESTOWN, PA (October 16, 2018) The Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF) strongly endorses the introduction the Liver Illness Visibility, Education and Research (LIVER) Act of 2018. Introduced by Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), the bill takes bold steps to increase investments in research, prevention, and awareness activities to address hepatitis B, which kills up to 1 million people a year, and liver cancer, which continues to grow in incidence and is the 2nd deadliest cancer worldwide. As hepatitis B is the major cause of liver cancer, research efforts to cure these two diseases are linked.

The bill, now known as HR 7063, includes significant provisions that will support and accelerate liver cancer and hepatitis B research. The LIVER Act will authorize an additional $45 million a year for five years for hepatitis B and liver cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and will:

  • Raise the profile of liver disease at the NIH by adding Liver to the name of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to make it the Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, Kidney and Liver Diseases;
  • Elevate the Liver Branch at NIDDK  to a Division and require that the new Liver Division report directly to the Institute Director;
  • Direct the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to issue targeted calls for proposal, including a call for a new liver Specialized Program of Research Excellence for primary liver cancer, and have those proposals reviewed by a new Special Emphasis Panel;
  • Direct the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and NIDDK to issue targeted calls for proposals to focus on research questions identified by the hepatitis B research community; and,
  • Direct NIH to establish an inter-institute working group to coordinate hepatitis B and liver cancer research.

The bill will also authorize an additional $100 million a year for five years for prevention and awareness grants at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including grants for screening, vaccination, and treatment for liver cancer, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis of the liver. 

“The Hepatitis B Foundation applauds Congresswoman Velazquez for her leadership and vision on this issue,” said Dr. Tim Block, President of the Hepatitis B Foundation. “We stand ready to help see this important legislation enacted into law.”

About Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is the most common serious liver infection in the world. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus that attacks and injures the liver. Each year up to 1 million people die from hepatitis B worldwide despite the fact that it is preventable and treatable. Hepatitis B is a “silent epidemic” because most people do not have symptoms when they are newly infected or chronically infected. Thus, they can unknowingly spread the virus to others and continue the silent spread of hepatitis B. For people who are chronically infected but don’t have any symptoms, their liver is still being silently damaged which can develop into serious liver disease such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.

About the Hepatitis B Foundation: The Hepatitis B Foundation is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B and improving the quality of life for those affected worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. To learn more, go to www.hepb.org, read our blog at hepb.org/blog, follow us on Twitter @HepBFoundation, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/hepbfoundation or call 215-489-4900.

 

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