Mayo Clinic has been conducting research on primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) for more than 40 years, and many treatments for the disease have been studied here. Mayo Clinic was one of the first centers to study ursodeoxycholic acid as a treatment option. Researchers are currently studying new medications for people with only a partial response to ursodeoxycholic acid. They are also investigating the treatment of related diseases such as osteoporosis, the effectiveness of current medications, the effects of liver transplantation and the causes of the disease. People treated for primary biliary cirrhosis at Mayo Clinic have the opportunity to participate in research that contributes to the understanding of the disease and potentially benefit from new findings.

Mayo Clinic researchers have also made numerous contributions to understanding the genetics of this disease, including helping to find several gene variations that seem to predispose people to PBC. These discoveries are the first step toward developing targeted treatments for individuals and potentially curing the disease.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have found that first-degree relatives (parents, siblings and children) of people with primary biliary cirrhosis are more likely to have a protein that indicates presence of the disease in their blood (biomarker). This finding could allow doctors to identify the disease early in first-degree relatives with a simple blood test, so that treatment can begin before the disease causes irreversible liver damage.

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic doctors on primary biliary cirrhosis on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Nov. 16, 2011