The overarching aims of the research program (Genomic Hepatobiology Laboratory) of Konstantinos N. Lazaridis, M.D., are to elucidate the genetic predisposition and the genetic-environmental interaction that contribute to the development of chronic cholestatic liver diseases, namely primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).
PBC and PSC are progressive cholestatic liver diseases that lead to hepatic failure and shorten patient life expectancy. Both diseases are likely caused by immune-mediated damage to the epithelial cells that line the bile ducts in a genetically predisposed individual as a reaction to probable environmental insult(s).
Yet, the putative genetic loci and the proposed environmental elements(s) involved in PBC and PSC susceptibility have not been explained, preventing the development of novel, rational therapies.
Over the past decade, Dr. Lazaridis and his colleagues have created and maintained the largest research resource of PBC and PSC probands, including a family registry in the U.S. This resource is linked to a repository of genomic DNA/cell lines and serum/plasma biospecimens.
Dr. Lazaridis' laboratory uses these unique research resources and state-of-the-art experimental methods to systematically investigate the genetic and environmental components that predispose to the development of PBC and PSC.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Lazaridis hopes his team's findings will improve the prognosis and individualize the therapy of these diseases.