The EMULSION programme is a large concerted effort by clinicians, scientists, and engineers to tackle Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is an imminent epidemic that has risen to prevalence globally due to growing affluence and the accompanying sedentary lifestyle. It is estimated to afflict a quarter to a third of the global and Singapore adult population. At present, it is already the leading cause of chronic liver disease and a growing indication for liver transplantation. The healthcare burden of NALFD will be immense and comparable to that of associated metabolic syndromes such as obesity and diabetes. However, it remains an under-diagnosed disease with no accurate non-invasive diagnostic assays, nor current approved therapies.
The long-term objectives of EMULSION are to discover and develop diagnostics and therapeutics for NAFLD. Our discoveries will be propelled by our foundational and ongoing work in the following:
- Asian-centric NAFLD clinical and multi-omics database: We are establishing a clinical database representing a diverse Asian population. Our database, comprising comprehensive clinical profiling as well as multi-omic profiling of patient samples, will serve as a clinical reference and invaluable resource for diagnostics and therapeutic targets discovery.
- Cutting edge, personalized in-vitro models: The clinical database is accompanied by a corresponding patient-derived bio-resource of renewable primary liver stem cells. We have developed proprietary technology to derive liver stem cells from patient liver biopsies and generate organoids for disease modeling, drug screening, and target validation. Further, we are developing a microfluidic NAFLD human-on-a-chip with integrated nano-sensors to recapitulate and study the interplay between the multiple tissue types implicated in metabolic disease.
- In vivo mouse models for high-throughput screening and target validation: Our therapeutics discovery and validation efforts will also be powered by our established capability in in vivo functional genetic screens and target validation in diet-induced mouse models of NAFLD, as well as humanized mouse models.
Through our rich clinical database, bio-resources, and research efforts, EMULSION aims to bring local and international academic and industry partners together to combat NALFD.