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Fight A Gene, Save A Liver


Duke-NUS and National Heart Centre Singapore researchers discovered that the interleukin 11 (IL11) gene has a damaging effect on liver cells. This immunofluorescence image shows IL11 activity in dying liver cells. 

The team found that IL11 is important for toxin-induced liver failure, overturning several earlier studies that erroneously suggested that IL11 could protect livers. These new findings will change scientists’ understanding of IL11 and thus, suggest a new way to treat terminal liver failure. 

The researchers are now studying whether anti-IL11 therapy can reverse kidney failure: a common, costly and currently irreversible health issue in Singapore, as well as exploring the wider role of IL11 in ageing diseases.

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