Aaron Carrel and research team receive grant to validate methods of quantifying liver fat in children at risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

Aaron Carrel, MD, professor, Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, joins Ivan M. Rosado-Mendez, PhD, and Andrew Wentland, MD, both assistant professors in the Department of Medical Physics, and Diego Hernando, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Radiology, in a one-year project entitled, “An Imaging-based Quantitative Biomarker Assay for NAFLD in Children: A Feasibility Study.” Carrel is a co-investigator for this project, which was just awarded a pilot grant from Radiology R&D for $55,335. The research team seeks to validate recently developed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)- and ultrasound (US)- based methods for quantifying liver fat in overweight or obese children. These methods have an enormous potential to enable clinicians to determine levels of risk, monitor treatment, and develop optimal treatments in the context of the worldwide obesity epidemic and emerging therapies to address it. People who develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are at risk of developing other health problems. The research team will determine the performance of the MRI- and US-based liver fat quantification methods in children. They intend to use their preliminary data to then secure extramural funding for a project that could provide definitive validation of these methods.