Mark Wall’s Reflections on the EASL Congress

Mark Wall is the Communications Lead for PHI and was part of the team representing the company at the recent EASL conference in Vienna. We asked him for his reflections.

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I am not a liver specialist, and I am not clinically trained. But it was a real privilege to go to one of the biggest liver conferences in the world recently, with the rest of the PHI team. EASL is the European Association for the Study of the Liver and has been around now for over 50 years. It is a medical association dedicated to excellence in liver research, clinical practice, and education. They have over 5000 members from over 100 countries.

My first, not very scientific, reflection is that EASL is huge. The conference hall was the size of many Wembley stadiums, and the programme of talks, lectures, demonstrations, posters and research was mind-boggling. It was four days packed with content, with just about everyone who was anyone in the liver world present.  

And in a sense, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Liver disease, and attempts to treat it, are also huge.

Liver disease accounts for 2 million deaths worldwide annually and is responsible for 1 in 25 of all deaths. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease affects a quarter of the global adult population. Liver disease is the 11th highest cause of death worldwide, and in the US alone, costs $32.5bn. To bring these stark facts even closer to home, 40 people a day die from liver disease in the UK.

The more encouraging view of this is that there are a lot of very clever committed people and companies working hard to improve the situation. While the rest of the team had meetings and went around to meet others at the conference I was able to stay on the PHI stand, meeting people from across the globe: the clinician from Georgia who had been part of a national plan to reduce Hep C; the very positive, even excited, Canadians looking to use PHI products to identify the people they had to be focussed on; the researchers from India keen to make a breakthrough in their studies.   

It was a genuine privilege to meet and talk to all these experts who are determined to improve the stats on liver disease.

As a team, we made over 120 new interested contacts who want to find out more about what we are doing and how hepatoSIGHT can fast-track what they are doing and help them achieve even more. We are now in the process of contacting people and setting up meetings to see how we can best work together.

So four long days, in 35-degree heat once you left the air con of the conference centre, most of it on my feet, and not all plain sailing as the airline lost some of our baggage on the way home (recovered now!). But a worthwhile four days, illuminating and even inspiring.

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For more information about EASL go to EASL | The Home of Hepatology



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