Alpha1-antitrypsin (AT) deficiency is the most common genetic cause of liver disease in children and is also a cause of chronic hepatic fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma in adults. Recent advances in understanding how mutant AT molecules accumulate within hepatocytes and cause liver cell injury have led to a novel strategy for chemoprophylaxis of this liver disease. This strategy involves a class of drugs, which enhance the intracellular degradation of mutant AT and, because several of these drugs have been used safely in humans for other indications, the strategy can be moved immediately into clinical trials. In this review, we will also report on advances that provide a basis for several other strategies that could be used in the future for treatment of the liver disease associated with AT deficiency.
- AT deficiency
- Liver disease