About the Schiff Center

About the Schiff Center

Mission Statement: To cure liver disease through innovative research, effective treatment and expert medical education.

Welcome to the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, one of the premier hepatology research institutions.

The Center for Liver Diseases at the University of Miami was established 1990 under the direction of Dr. Eugene Schiff. In 2012 the Center became independent and renamed Schiff Center for Liver Diseases (SCFLD) in honor of Dr. Leon Schiff the first President of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases who served on the University of Miami Faculty from 1970 – 1994. The center embraces both clinical and basic research in a spectrum of hepatobiliary diseases.

Major studies in the treatment and cure of chronic viral hepatitis C have been conducted here and led to licensure of orally administered direct anti-viral agents that are well tolerated with cure rates of over 95%. These multicenter trials have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and Gastroenterology. Patients awaiting liver transplantation as well as post-transplant patients with recurrent hepatitis C have been cured. Ongoing drug trials of antiviral agents for chronic hepatitis B continue with a goal of eradicating all vestiges of the hepatitis B virus which would result in a cure rather than indefinite treatment to sustain remission which is the current approach.

A spectrum of new drugs for chronic cholestatic disorders, ie. primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis, continue to evolve and are being studied. Additional clinical studies addressing genetic patterns of liver diseases, artificial liver support of severe alcoholic hepatitis, newer agents for patients with refractory hepatic encephalopathy are being actively conducted. A promising new drug is being investigated for safety and efficacy in autoimmune hepatobiliary disorders. Our center has been at the forefront of assessing the accuracy and application of non-invasive devices that give point of care results for the measurement of liver fibrosis, sparing many patients a liver biopsy. This data was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

With the accomplishment of definitive cures and sustained remissions of chronic hepatitis C and B, the emphasis of clinical trials is now on non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Current clinical trials being conducted evaluate anti-fibrotics and agents that reduce hepatic inflammation and apoptosis in an attempt to stop progression and promote the regression of liver fibrosis including cirrhosis.

Our Laboratory Research has a diverse research program with interest and expertise ranging from molecular biology, virology, cell biology, immunology, systems biology and functional genomics/genetics, which provides a fertile scientific environment for the training of clinical and postdoctoral fellows as well as medical and undergraduate students. The laboratory specifically offers extensive experience in studying the pathogenesis of liver disease. The laboratory also offers state-of-the-art equipment that would support a full spectrum of research technology needed for diagnostic, clinical and basic research.

Current innovative projects include research to develop (1) stem cell derived hepatocytes as a therapeutic agent (2) liver on chip platforms to model hepatic disease as well as (3) studies to identify clinical and genetic factors that can be used to identify patients with liver disease that are most at risk for poor clinical outcomes including the development of liver cancers (project funded by the state of Florida).

  • Evaluation of new diagnostic tests: COVID-19 testing, Viral hepatitis, HIV, Troponin, CNV, EBV and other infectious diseases.
  • Prospective and Retrospective Screening for COVID-19/SARS-CoV2 in Vulnerable Populations and in Patients with Liver Diseases in South Florida
  • Pilot study for mechanism for reduction in the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.
  • Pilot study Innate Immune Response in Viral Hepatitis
  • Recently established Hepatitis E Viral Program which includes HEV RNA Quantitation, HEV antigen, IgG/IgM for HEV