14 January 2019 (online)
Dear colleagues and friends, dear members of the GASL,
It is my greatest privilege and pleasure to welcome you to Heidelberg for the 2019 meeting of the German Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (GASL). This association unites clinicians and basic scientists sharing a common goal, i. e. the study of liver diseases with their multitude of etiologies, the improvement of existing concepts for treatment and prevention, and the design of new treatment modalities for these diseases. In this respect, the GASL meeting is a major stronghold in Germany by providing a platform for the exchange of most recent scientific data, for teaming up in a relaxed atmosphere and for the establishment of novel collaborations. This spirit has a long tradition and dates back to 1985 when the GASL was founded by Professor Karl-Hermann Meyer zum Büschenfelde, and has been carried on since then. During this time major progress has been made in many areas related to liver diseases, including important mechanistic insights underlying the pathogenesis of several liver diseases or the establishment of new and highly efficacious treatment modalities. One of the most obvious examples from the last years is the development of an antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis C patients that allows the cure in more than 95 % of cases with a well-tolerated medication that has to be administered just for 2 – 3 months. Another example is the recognition that liver damage can have surprisingly similar mechanistic drivers even though the etiologies are not linked as witnessed e. g. by the immune-mediated chronic inflammation that drives liver pathology in chronic viral hepatitis, but also in NASH. In this respect, I am most grateful to our Keynote Speaker Dr. Michael Karin, Distinguished Professor of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, U.S.A., for having accepted our invitation to give the state-of-the-art lecture in which he will discuss the metabolic regulation of liver tumorigenesis.