The first online patient event of the DECISION project took virtually place on 31st August 2020.
In the DECISION project, 21 European institutions join forces to tackle end-stage liver disease and liver failure with a systems medicine approach. Over the next 5.5 years, the DECISION research consortium will analyse and integrate data from already existing clinical cohorts and biological samples from 2,200 patients with cirrhosis at more than 8,600 time points to identify novel combinatorial therapies, validate them in animal models, and then test the most promising combinatorial therapy in a clinical trial. The overall aim of the DECISION project is to prevent acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) and to significantly reduce the mortality rate amongst patients with decompensated cirrhosis. The project receives 6 million € funding from the European Commission.
The webinar started with a brief introduction by Marko Korenjak. He thanked all the people who were attending the meeting; he stressed the importance for patients to be part of scientific projects, such as DECISION and he shortly presented the panellists.
Introduced by Marko Korenjak the first speaker took the floor just after ELPA President’s presentation. As coordinator and principal investigator in DECISION project, Prof. Dr. Pierre-Emmanuel Rautou, before starting his presentation, underlined that the ultimate goal of the project is improving the life of liver patients. Then, he explained what DECISION exactly stands for -DEcompensated CIrrhoSIs: identification of new cOmbiNatorial therapies based on systems approaches and gave some details about the project. , its aims are the understanding of pathophysiology of acute decompensation, refining existing and developing new animal models of decompensation of cirrhosis leading to the failure of different organs, identifying new combinatorial therapies, and developing novel tests.
After a short introduction by Marko Korenjak, Prof. Dr. Paolo Caraceni, Professor of Internal Medicine, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna-Italy, started his presentation. Being the head of the clinical trial in DECISION (WP5) project, he explained in detail COMBAT-trial, the clinical trial nested in DECISION, designed to validate the combinatorial therapies and the novel biomarkers identified during the first year of the project. His presentation was composed of two parts. With the first part, Prof. Caraceni explained why the COMBAT-trial addresses an important clinical need related to the management of these very sick patients. In the second part, he gave specific details about the trial.
At the end of Prof. Caraceni’s presentation, Marko Korenjak gave the floor to the third panellist, Prof. Dr. Sara Montagnese, Professor of Medicine and Honorary Consultant Physician at Padova University Hospital, Italy and involved in the dissemination activities of DECISION project. She listed all the possible doubts and questions a patient with cirrhosis could have and stressed the fact that mostly the answers are ‘we do not know’, the scientific community is still not very good at working out who will develop complications. However, accordingly to Prof. Montagnese, in order to make progress in these fields a project like DECISION is crucial. Prof. Montagnese finished her presentation stressing the importance to disseminate DECISION’s activities and results not only among the scientific community but also reaching a larger audience, patients included. She stressed also that the patients’ associations’ participation in projects like DECISION is extremely important to drive scientific research forward.
Before wrapping up the meeting, Marko Korenjak moderated a short but animated Q&A session.