Bringing a panel of “luminaries” in the matrix biology field to The Liver Meeting®, this year’s Basic Science Symposium will focus on new areas of study and promote the use of extracellular matrix (ECM)-directed therapies in human liver disease.
Program chairs Gavin E. Arteel, PhD, FAASLD, and Rebecca G. Wells, MD, encourage not only basic science investigators, but also clinical researchers and clinicians to register for “Matrix Biology and the Liver: Beyond Collagen and Fibrosis” which will take place on Saturday, Nov. 10, at The Liver Meeting® in San Francisco.
“We have recruited thought leaders in the field of matrix biology. Although most of them are not liver researchers per se, they are the key leaders that are studying matrix biology,” said Dr. Arteel. “We should get to the state of the art of matrix biology and also get an opportunity to incorporate that knowledge into what’s already known or being actively studied in liver disease.”
He added that for basic scientists, it’s a sheer win, and for clinicians, the matrix is a great target because it is a key source of potential biomarkers for changes in liver disease.
Dr. Wells noted that the ECM hasn’t been addressed in the liver field in quite some time, and never to the depth that the Basic Science Symposium will cover over the course of the daylong session. She said that it is becoming increasingly understood that the hepatic ECM responds dynamically to stress well before fibrosis. This topic hasn’t been addressed recently, but will be covered in the symposium.
“A huge amount has happened in the matrix field, not necessarily in liver but in matrix biology in general. There have been incredible advances in the study of fibrosis and in other organs. So it’s time that we brought that into the understanding of liver disease and normal liver physiology,” she said.
Dr. Arteel noted that speakers will address not only the canonical concept of the ECM, which refers to all the little fibers that are found in the extracellular space, but also the newer concept of the matrisome, which encompasses not only the fibers but also things that bind to that matrix, influence the matrix, are associated with the matrix or modified.
“We’re really excited about this program in particular because a number of incredible top notch scientists from outside of hepatology have agreed to come speak, so we’re going to be getting a state of the art survey of what’s the latest in understanding of a number of different matrix molecules,” added Dr. Wells.
The program is divided into four parts to cover the matrix of the liver, microscale structure of the matrix, macroscale structure of the matrix, and therapeutic implications. Attendees will have an opportunity to interact with presenters not only during panel discussions after each session, but also during the Meet-the-Professors luncheons, which will have topic crossovers from the symposium presentations.
“In my recollection, I don’t remember a liver centric situation where matrix biology is covered in such detail, given the critical – and understudied – roles that the ECM plays. This is an opportunity to hear from some of the world’s experts while still tying into liver and liver disease,” said Dr. Arteel.