Kidney Research UK Monthly Update

Kidney Research UK’s monthly update includes details of how new research in Manchester into circadian clocks could improve the success rates of peritoneal dialysis; a welcome to Professor Jeremy Hughes as a new Trustee from 2018 and a round up of the 2017 Research Project and Innovation Awards from the charity.

Research into circadian clocks could improve the success rates of peritoneal dialysis

Exciting discoveries into how circadian clocks affect the body have been studied within research funded by Kidney Research UK.

Dr Sara Namvar, a research associate working at the University of Manchester, has been investigating possible ways to prevent peritoneal fibrosis – and as part of this study she is looking into how the circadian clock within individual cells could affect treatment in kidney patients.

She said: “Some kidney patients use peritoneal dialysis. This is generally done during the day or overnight.”

“Although effective, this treatment eventually damages the mesothelial cells and causes hardening (fibrosis), so treatment has to stop.

“We have been growing these cells in dishes and have identified genes that appear to be really important in regulating the development of peritoneal fibrosis. We’ve also discovered these cells may contain a functioning biological clock.

“All living creatures have biological clocks present in their brain and also in many other tissues and organs. Clock genes have been shown to be important in many other conditions including cancer, asthma and diabetes, so this suggests they must be in mesothelial cells for a reason.

“I hope to continue this work and gain a greater understanding of these clock genes. If, for example, we find they make the lining cell or entire peritoneum more susceptible to fibrosis at certain times of the day or night, we may be able to counter this by ensuring patients have dialysis at the best possible times.”

Investing in the best science and people

Kidney Research UK are delighted to welcome Professor Jeremy Hughes to their board of trustees.  Professor Hughes is Professor of Experimental Nephrology at the University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Consultant Nephrologist at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He has been Chair of the charity’s Research Grant Committee for the past five years and when his tenure ends, he will join the board of trustees in March 2018.

Prof Hughes said: “I am delighted to become a trustee of Kidney Research UK for various reasons. It is clear to me that the work of the charity is undoubtedly critically important in the UK at many levels, from patients and their families to scientists performing laboratory experiments or clinical studies, as well as everything in between. Also, my experience of working with Kidney Research UK staff during my tenure as Chair of the Research Grants Committee has been fabulous and I have always been so impressed with the ‘can do’ attitude that permeates the charity. Lastly, it represents an opportunity to do something that will hopefully be of value to the wider renal community. I hope to bring my broad experience as a clinician and scientist to the role but also enthusiasm and imagination!”

Research Project and Innovation Awards – July 2017

Kidney Research UK received 73 applications in this year’s research grant round (53 Research Project applications and 20 for Innovation).

All applications went through the normal peer review via the full Research Grants Committee (RGC) and External Referees. Forty-three applications (32 Research Project and 11 Innovation) were shortlisted for discussion at the July RGC meeting based upon scientific merit.

Following discussion and endorsement by our Board of Trustees, 12 Research Project and five Innovation applications were recommended for funding.

  • Total awarded: £1,835,029
  • Overall success rate: 23.29%

Research Project Awards

Dr James Burton, University of Leicester – £47,744 over three years

Validating the accuracy of novel, non-contrast, Cardiac magnetic resOnaNce imaging in defining myocardial FIbRosis in patients with end-stage renal disease on haeModialysis: The CONFIRM study


Professor Paul Roderick, University of Southampton – £173,563 over three years

Ethnic differences in kidney function in childhood and the role of kidney size:  the Born in Bradford Cohort Renal Study


Dr James Dear, University of Edinburgh – £124,122 over two years

Prevention of injury to the kidney by circulating hepatic microRNA


Dr Neil Roberts, University of Edinburgh – £73,339 over 1.5 years

First steps to gene therapy for congenital bladder disease


Dr Philippa Bailey, University of Bristol – £43,855 over one year

What factors explain the association between socioeconomic deprivation and a reduced likelihood of living-donor kidney transplantation? A questionnaire based case-control study


Dr Robert Steadman, Cardiff University – £196,662 over three years

The role of Hyal2 in mediating hyaluronan synthase 2 antisense-dependent anti-fibrotic cell responses


Professor Richard Coward, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children – £200,000 over three years

Targeting glomerular insulin signalling to treat diabetic kidney disease: an information theoretic approach


Dr Kevin Marchbank, Newcastle University – £170,776 over two years

Testing the efficacy of new anti-complement therapies in a unique C3 gain-of-function model of kidney disease


Mr Jason Wong, University of Manchester £64,618 over one year

Enhancing the vasculature of kidneys formed by transplanted human precursor cells


Dr Bryan Conway, University of Edinburgh – £146,452 over two years

Role of macrophages in progression and reversal of renal fibrosis


Dr Andrew Macdonald, University of Leeds – £199,824 over three years

A novel therapeutic use of glibenclamide to treat BK virus associated kidney disease


Dr Sakari Vanharanta, University of Cambridge – £199,366 over three years

Modelling therapeutic susceptibilities of the von Hippel-Lindau disease-associated kidney lesions in genetically engineered mice


 Innovation Awards


Dr Matthew Bailey, University of Edinburgh – £39,430 over 1.5 years

Generating a kidney-specific knockout of Hsd11b2 to interrogate salt-sensitive hypertension


Dr Sandrine Prost, University of Edinburgh – £39,898 over two years

In situ macrophage phenotyping in ANCA-positive vasculitis in human biopsies


Professor John Armour, University of Nottingham – £35,432 over one year

Understanding the role of alpha defensins in IgA nephropathy


Professor Claire Harris, Newcastle University – £39,979 over 1.5 years

Complement C5 convertase dysregulation; role in C3 glomerulopathy and stratification of patients for anti-C5 therapy


Professor Maarten Taal, University of Nottingham – £39,969 over 1.5 years

Multiparametric renal MRI to stratify and monitor the progression of chronic kidney disease


Further details available at www.kidneyresearchuk.org