Scientists find new way to treat kidney and liver diseases

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Many individuals suffer from serious kidney or liver issues, often with elusive causes that puzzle doctors.

A recent breakthrough at Newcastle University has unveiled a previously unrecognized inherited condition known as TULP3-related ciliopathy, shedding light on a significant medical mystery and offering hope for more precise diagnoses and tailored treatments.

A Deep Dive into Genes

To uncover the root cause of liver and kidney problems in patients, scientists embarked on a journey into the intricacies of genetics.

Their investigations revealed a specific gene that was not functioning as it should. This genetic anomaly resulted in increased scarring in the liver and kidneys, a complication that frequently necessitates organ transplants.

A Milestone in Diagnosis and Treatment

Professor John Sayer, the leader of the study, emphasized the transformative potential of this discovery.

He explained that the newfound knowledge enables doctors to provide patients with precise diagnoses, allowing for personalized treatment plans that can yield the best possible outcomes.

The research effort was extensive, encompassing the analysis of symptoms, genetic profiles, and liver tissue samples from numerous patients. The study identified 15 patients from eight families afflicted with TULP3-related ciliopathy.

In the laboratory, researchers cultured cells from urine samples obtained from these patients, offering deeper insights into the mechanisms underlying this condition.

For over half of these patients, the disease had progressed to the point where they required liver or kidney transplants, yet the reasons behind their deteriorating health were previously unknown.

The Significance of Knowledge

Professor Sayer emphasized that as the research community gains a more comprehensive understanding of this newly identified disease, more individuals can benefit from precise diagnoses.

He expressed the team’s commitment to providing answers to many more families in the future.

The genetic insights into the causes of liver and kidney failure can also be invaluable for families considering kidney donation, as a better understanding of the condition can inform medical decisions.

The Road Ahead

The scientists at Newcastle University remain dedicated to their research on TULP3-related ciliopathy. Their ongoing efforts aim to unravel further details about the disease’s mechanisms and explore potential treatment options.

Real Impact, Real Lives

The study’s impact extends beyond the laboratory, touching the lives of real people facing liver and kidney issues.

Patients like Linda Turnbull, who has grappled with failing liver health since childhood, have found answers through their participation in the study.

Linda’s involvement has not only helped her understand her condition but also contributed to the formation of a liver patient support group and her advocacy work for Liver North, a charity.

The discovery made at Newcastle University exemplifies the tangible benefits of scientific research. It provides a ray of hope for individuals searching for answers and treatments that can make a genuine difference in their lives.


In the quest to solve medical mysteries and provide relief to patients, scientific exploration of the genetic underpinnings of diseases plays a pivotal role.

The identification of TULP3-related ciliopathy represents a significant stride forward in understanding liver and kidney conditions, offering the promise of better diagnoses and more effective treatments for those in need.

If you care about liver health, please read studies about a diet that can treat fatty liver disease and obesity, and coffee drinkers may halve their risk of liver cancer.

For more information about liver health, please see recent studies that anti-inflammatory diet could help prevent fatty liver disease, and results showing vitamin D could help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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