What is Fibrosis?

Fibrosis is the accumulation of collagen fibers in the liver. These accumulations are caused by chronic liver damage. Causes of damage may include:

  • Viral infection
  • Alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune disorders

Normally, the liver heals from damage much like the development of a scab on a surface wound. But, over time, collagen fibers deposit faster than they can be processed and removed. That is when liver fibrosis occurs.

Liver fibrosis is not a disease in itself. It is a progressive structural change in the liver. Fibrosis can be seen and measured in a tissue sample taken by biopsy and viewed under a microscope.

What are the Stages of Fibrosis?

Progression from one stage of fibrosis to the next is characterized by an increase in collagen deposits. As fibrosis grows, these deposits spread and intrude into the liver tissue. Eventually the fiber deposits will interconnect. Linked deposits cause two major issues:

  1. Stiffening of the liver structure
  2. Restriction of blood flow through the liver

At this stage, fibrosis progresses to cirrhosis.

Conatus is studying emricasan in fibrosis patients in two separate clinical trials. You can read more about the POLT-HCV-SVR trial and the ENCORE-NF trial at clinicaltrials.gov.