“Why does NHCS Heart To Heart Fund support research studies and projects?” This could be a question that you might have.

Medical research is a powerful tool in helping researchers and clinicians understand and overcome conditions affecting our heart patients. It has the important end-goal of improving patient care and their health. As simple as it sounds, research encompasses a long journey before knowledge about the disease in question – its trends and risk factors, and prevention and treatment – can be understood, and a cure, can be developed.

At NHCS, multiple research projects are underway, seeking answers to turn the lives of our heart patients around. For many of our patients, the hope of a cure may not materialise in their lifetime but could benefit their children and future generations to come. This is only possible if there is strong, continued support in resources to our research teams.

Cardiac Ageing

Age is a major risk factor when it comes to cardiovascular disease.

Singapore is facing a silver tsunami which inadvertently increases the country’s risk of heart disease.

angela koh
Asst Prof Angela Koh, Consultant from the Department of Cardiology and Principal Researcher, is leading a research study on cardiac ageing which aims to characterise cardiovascular structure and function of elderly individuals who have aged healthily without cardiovascular disease, and compare them against those with cardiovascular disease.

Helping our hearts age healthily
Gaining insights in this area will not only enable us to come up with new treatments to preserve heart function but also to move one step closer to being able to better predict the development of heart disease in healthy individuals and intervene before heart disease strikes.

Asst Prof Koh explains, “We are hopeful that the results of this study will shed new light on the workings of the human heart and how it ages. Having a comprehensive understanding of cardiac ageing – in terms of structure and function – at midlife is the first and critical step we need to take before we can make significant impact upstream on the heart health of our population. For example, targeted preventive therapies and clinical interventions can be devised to retard the ageing process for middle-aged adults. At the same time, our findings can go towards shaping the formulation of healthcare policies that promote healthy ageing in Singapore, the region and globally.”

Click here to read the full article.

Fatty Liver Disease

How much do you know about your liver?

The liver plays a key role in breaking down and storing both glucose and fat. In conditions such as Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), too much fat is stored in the liver. NAFLD, also commonly known as ‘fatty liver’, is a liver disorder and refers to a group of conditions where there is accumulation of excess fats in the livers of people who drink little or no alcohol.

progression of fatty liver disease 

The disease can progress to liver inflammation, fibrosis and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH refers to liver inflammation and damage caused by a build-up of fat in the liver. There is currently no treatment available for both NAFLD and NASH, whereby drugs tested previously have failed to work.

‘Switching off’ Fatty Liver Disease
Researchers from the NHCS and Duke-NUS Medical School have found that deactivating a specific protein − interleukin 11 (IL11) – with drugs called therapeutic antibodies, helps reverse inflammation and scarring of the liver in patients suffering from NASH.

Stuart Cook and Sebastian Schäfer - NHCS MRI 
The research was led by Prof Stuart Cook (right), Tanoto Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Director of National Heart Research Institute of Singapore, NHCS, together with Asst Prof Sebastian Schäfer (left), Senior Research Fellow from NHCS.

The breakthrough translational research paved way for the development of the world’s first thorough drug target.

IL-11 and liver damage 

“We identified a new approach to treat these patients and restore their liver function while lowering the dangerous fats and glucose in their blood,” added Prof Stuart Cook, corresponding author of the research study. Prof Cook is also the Tanoto Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Director of National Heart Research Institute of Singapore and Senior Consultant from Department of Cardiology at NHCS.

Prof Cook is also the Director and Co- Founder of Enleofen Bio, a biotechnology company established in Singapore that is now developing the antibody therapeutics for clinical trials. The drugs are aimed to be ready for clinical trials by the end of 2020.

Click here to read the full article.

You can help advance our research

Your donation helps our research teams continue to find the cure they seek. Every amount makes an impact to the lives of our patients and their loved ones.

A little goes a long way, make your contribution today!
Launched in 2010, the Heart To Heart Fund aims to support financially needy patients; patients who require novel treatment when they are unable to undergo conventional therapy; cardiovascular research, and the education and training of cardiac healthcare professionals. Find out more here.

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Have questions? Contact the NHCS Development Team at development@nhcs.com.sg.