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Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the bile ducts. Bile ducts carry digestive liquid (bile) made in the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine where it helps break down and absorb fat in the intestinal tract. When the bile ducts are blocked, this digestive liquid accumulates in the liver where it gradually damages liver cells and causes cirrhosis, liver failure, and other complications.

For most patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis, symptoms develop slowly, increasing in both presence and severity over time. A person can have the disease years before symptoms develop. Early symptoms include fatigue, itching, and yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes. As the disease progresses, the liver is damaged further and patients often experience a fever, abdominal pain, and weight loss due to mal absorption. 

Although it is unclear what causes PSC, it is more often diagnosed in men and genetics are believed to play a role. It is important to note that a majority of people with PSC also have some type of inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, but this is not always the case. 

Treatment for this disease mainly focuses on managing symptoms and complications, such as itching, bacterial infections, and nutrition. Balloon dilation and stent placement inside the bile ducts is often successfully used to open blockages. 

There is currently no cure for primary sclerosing cholangitis, but progress has been made in early diagnosis. Receiving an early diagnosis is important so that treatment can begin before the liver is severely damaged. Many patients with PSC end up receiving a liver transplant.

Scientists and researchers are working to find way to slow the progression of PSC, find its risk factors and cause, and ultimately find a cure. At Vanderbilt's GI Clinical Research Enterprise, we are determined to help lead this discovery.

If you are struggling with this disease, please talk with your doctor about available treatments and options to improve your well-being. If you feel a clinical trial is right for you, we would love to work with you in pursuit of a cure. 

At Vanderbilt's GI Clinical Research Enterprise, we are dedicated to finding a solution that works for you.


Current Trials for Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis


Title: Phase 2 Study of NGM282 in Patients With Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
(NGM 15-0106 PSC)

Study Contact: Melanie Dean 615-936-1745

Primary Investigator: Andrew Scanga, MD

The purpose of this study is to determine the safety, tolerability, and activity of NGM282 in patients with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis.

Sponsor: NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Inc

Eligibility Requirements:          

-Inclusion Criteria:

Confirmed diagnosis of PSC

-Exclusion Criteria:

Clinically significant acute or chronic liver disease of an etiology other than PSC

Secondary or IgG4 related sclerosing cholangitis


Look up this study on