S4-48.3 – Reviewing TLM 2023 (cont) – A Discussion with Michael Betel

S4-48.3 - Reviewing TLM 2023 (cont) - A Discussion with Michael Betel
Patient Advocate Michael Betel of the Fatty Liver Alliance joins Roger Green to discuss the presentations, events and themes of TLM 2023 he found most empowering for patients and advocates.

Fatty Liver Alliance President and Founder Michael Betel, a leading patient advocate for MASLD/MASH patients, joins Roger Green in our continuing review coverage of TLM 2023. Mr. Betel discusses presentations and events he found most valuable to patient advocates. He also discusses the new MASLD nomenclature and Fatty Liver Alliance’s upcoming 2nd Annual Primary Care NAFLD & NASH Summit.

The conversation starts with Mike paying the event a profound but slightly backhanded compliment. He comments that interest in some sessions was so strong that organizers did not leave sufficient space for everyone who wanted to attend. As he pointed out, even the “overflow rooms” were overflowing for some sessions! Mike then paid the event a profound complement: the content of the sessions, coupled with his ability to interact with Key Opinion Leaders, made for a meeting that provided him with insight and enthusiasm into where the field is heading.

Mike shifts focus slightly to praise Madrigal Pharmaceuticals for the Public Service Announcement the company premiered at this event. He describes himself as “blown away” by the 2:30 video. Mike notes, and Roger agrees, that virtually everyone he spoke with at the conference who saw the PSA felt the same way. In response to Roger’s question, Mike offers that what makes the PSA so special is that it focuses on “a real person and a real community interacting” in ways that portray real-life with humor and, at the same time, commitment. He mentions a couple of specific items he particularly likes and goes on to note that as of the end of conference, the video had already received 500,000 views online.

Mike goes on to discuss one scientific paper he found compelling, a presentation by Prof. Arun Sanyal about the Eli Lilly incretin triple-agonist retatrutide. He cites Arun’s comment that in over 90% of the obese patients in this study, the drug reduced liver fat so much that patients’ fat levels were defined as “normal.” Roger goes on to note that there are three triple-agonists in development, the other two being Altimmune’s pemvidutide and Merck/Hanmi’s efinopegdutide.

Shifting focus, Mike congratulates Dr. Jeff Lazarus on being recognized with the Distinguished Scientific Award from the American Liver Foundation. jeff’s work over his career has spanned major public health efforts in HIV, Hepatitis C, COVID-19 and Fatty Liver diseases, but his most recent effort was spearheading the Delphi process around the nomenclature change. Roger commends the work that Jeff, Ken Cusi and a few others have made in reaching across specialties and countries to foster and promote clinical care pathways. Mike commends a presentation by Jeff and Mazen Noureddin talking about “a united voice for liver health.”

Next, the conversation shifts to discuss the new nomenclature, which received significant attention at TLM 2023. Mike comments that while nomenclature is moving ahead, widespread change will hinge on endorsements from regulators, professional organizations and the pharmaceutical industry. Roger notes two specific steps forward: a comment from George Makar of FDA that the agency sees the terms of interchangeability and reports from Profs. Sanyal and Quentin Anstee that the old and new definitions map identically for 95-98% of patients.

The last part of the discussion focuses on Fatty Liver Alliance’s upcoming primary care event. Mike discusses some highlights of the conference and tells listeners how to find it. The podcast ends with a call to action for community-wide engagement in liver health, underscoring the necessity for collaborative efforts to broaden the understanding of liver disease, enhance patient care, and adapt to the evolving medical landscape.

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