Liver fibrosis is the scarring process that represents the liver’s response to a chronic disease process. Progression
of liver fibrosis over time can result in cirrhosis and loss of liver function. Once cirrhosis has developed, serious
complications of liver disease may occur including liver failure and liver cancer. Alcoholism, viral hepatitis and non-alcoholic
steatohepatitis (often referred to as “fatty liver disease” or “NASH”) are noted as the primary causes of hepatic fibrosis.
For assessment and disease management apart from a clinical trial a referral from your family physician to LAIR Centre is required. You may also contact the LAIR Centre and talk with one of our nurses. The nurse may ask preliminary questions and if being seen by our doctors seems indicated or it seems that you might be suitable for a clinical trial an appointment can be arranged.
You will first be assessed, provided with education, counseling, and appropriate procedures (such as blood work, liver biopsy, endoscopy, x-rays, etc) will be arranged as appropriate. If participation in a clinical trial seems possible you will have the trial explained to you by a nurse or a physician and you will be given a copy of the Patient Informed Consent Form that explains the study in detail. You will have ample time to read the consent form, discuss it with your family, and ask any questions that you might have. You may enter a clinical trial only after you have read, understood, and signed the Patient Informed Consent Form. Following this you will be given an appointment for the screening visit.
Yes, you may participate but you will need to attend the Centre for the initial assessment and for a number of monitoring visits during the study and the follow-up period. The requirement for travel makes it difficult for some patients to be included in the study. Patients from rural communities who are not part of a study can be followed and their treatment managed through a ‘close to home’ multidisciplinary approach that is set up and arranged through the LAIR Centre.
For research trials there are no costs involved other than time away from work and travel expenses. Travel expenses and miscellaneous expenses may be reimbursed. For treatment other than research trials you are responsible for the cost, however, we will assist in obtaining Special Authority from Pharmacare if applicable.
Some drugs are expensive. A Special Authority grants partial to full coverage if the eligibility criteria for that drug has been met. The cost to the individual is based on Fair Pharmacare. Fair Pharmacare is a medication coverage program based on income. All B.C. residents must apply for Fair Pharmacare. You can find more information at www.healthservices.gov.bc.ca
Pharmacare will have a set of criteria for a therapy/drug that must be met in order to gain coverage under Special Authority. Pharmacare has a list of Special Authority programs on their web site and the latest information on Special Authority medications and criteria for approval can be accessed through PharmaNet HelpDesk at 1-800-554-0250.