Mayo Clinic has been conducting research on primary biliary cirrhosis 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 (UDCA) as a treatment option. Researchers are currently studying new medications for people with only a partial response to UDCA.

Researchers 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 may have the opportunity to participate clinical trials.

Mayo Clinic researchers have made numerous contributions to understanding the genetics of this disease, including helping to find several gene variations that seem to predispose people to primary biliary cirrhosis. 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 or 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.

Basic research related to primary biliary cirrhosis and other liver diseases is conducted in the following Mayo Clinic laboratories:


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

Research profiles

May 16, 2017