In 1997, 63 individuals died from acute liver failure after taking a diabetes drug called troglitazone.
The drug was eventually withdrawn from the market in 2000, but the underlying cause of these deaths remained unknown. However, researchers at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy have recently solved this medical mystery.
In 2011, UNC formed a partnership with the DILI-sim Initiative, a group of life science companies led by the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences.
“The DILIsym with a 'y' is the trademark for the software produced by the DILI-sim Initiative,” said Paul Watkins, one of the developers of the computer software and a UNC professor. The research team at UNC used this computer software in their study of drug induced liver injury (DILI).
“Drug-induced liver injury is the most common cause of acute liver failure, and is one of the primary reasons for the failure of pharmaceutical agents during drug development,” said Kyunghee Yang, lead author of the study.