Welcome to the German Liver Foundation
Liver disease is a serious problem world-wide. One of the most common symptoms is hepatitis (from the Greek for ‘inflammation of the liver’). It is brought about by a variety of causes. In most cases it can be traced back to an infection from the hepatitis A, B, C, D or E viruses. Hepatitis can, however, also be triggered by toxins such as alcohol, by genetics or metabolic disorders and by the autoimmune process. Under the heading of metabolic disorders comes Wilson’s disease (a copper accumulation disorder), haemochromatosis (a genetic iron absorption condition) and NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis). Autoimmune hepatitis is caused by the body’s immune system attacking parts of its own liver. Liver diseases where the cause is not known for certain but which come under the heading of autoimmune liver diseases are primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). These diseases are characterised in particular by bile stasis and are classed as primary cholestatic liver diseases. Should the disease become chronic then cirrhosis of the liver or even hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC – liver cancer) can develop.
In February 2002 the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (German: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) decided to help fund the Kompetenznetz Hepatitis (Hep-Net; Competence Network for Viral Hepatitis) as part of its support for interlinked research projects. The German Liver Foundation grew out of the Competence Network on Hepatitis, and was founded at the end of 2006. The research body’s work is sustainably funded and advanced with the German Liver Foundation’s help.