Charity invests £150,000 into kidney research

Posted by pt91 at Sep 02, 2013 04:15 PM |
Four research projects at University of Leicester benefit from funding injection

Issued by Kidney Research UK on 2 September 2013

National charity Kidney Research UK has recently invested almost £150,000 into four kidney research projects at the University of Leicester. The charity is the largest funder dedicated to kidney research and kidney problems in the UK.

Kidney disease is a silent killer. Kidney failure is growing by 4% each year, but not enough is known about the disease. Over 3 million people in the UK are at risk, and almost 2,000 people in Leicester are being treated for end stage kidney failure.

Every year, a group of top renal doctors and scientists meet to discuss various proposals submitted to the charity by researchers, who apply for grants to advance their studies.

Professor Andrew Fry has received funding for a two and a half year research project. He will investigate the cell biology that causes cystic kidney disease – the most common form of inherited kidney disease.

In cystic kidney disease, cysts form on the kidneys affecting their function. The only treatments available are dialysis or a kidney transplant. Neither of these are a permanent solution.

Professor Fry, of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Leicester, will study two particular proteins, which play a role in kidney development. These proteins interact to coordinate signals received by the developing kidney. But in childhood cystic kidney disease the signals change, and faulty signalling means that fluid-filled cysts form on the kidney.

Professor Fry said: "The two proteins, Nek8 and Inversin, at the centre of this study are poorly understood. In cystic kidney disease, the kidney loses its structure and the tissue becomes overgrown. We want to understand what has gone wrong in the cells to make this happen. In the long term, we hope this research will lead to better treatments for cystic kidney diseases."

Kidney Research UK will also fund three Intercalated Degrees at the University. Intercalated Degrees allow medical students to take one year out of their medical degrees and assist with research in a lab.

This year’s students will study three different topics. One will study how and why acute kidney injury occurs after heart surgery; the other two will investigate molecules associated with IgA nephropathy - a disease where the immune system attacks the kidney.

Elaine Davies, Head of Research Operations, said: “We’re able to fund these research projects because of the kind donations we receive from members of the public. But we’re still forced to turn away four out of five research projects due to lack of funding. Each of these ideas could be a potential cure or new treatment. We need people to keep donating, to enable us to continue to fund research to save lives.”

To find out more kidney disease and the work being undertaken by Kidney Research UK, please visit:


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Notes to Editors:
About Kidney Research UK

The charity Kidney Research UK was founded in 1961 and is the largest funder dedicated to life-saving research into kidney disease in the UK.

Kidney disease is a silent killer and every year more than 53,000 people are treated for end stage kidney failure, 3,000 people die on dialysis, while 350 die waiting for a kidney transplant. Kidney Research UK is dedicated to substantially reducing these numbers through funding life-saving research into kidney disease and by generating public awareness of kidney health.

90 per cent of people on the transplant list are waiting for a kidney, which is approximately 6,000 patients. Even though cases of kidney failure are increasing by five per cent every year, Kidney Research UK must turn down four out of every five research proposals it receives due to a lack of funding - proposals which are aimed at enhancing treatments and ultimately finding a cure for kidney disease.

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