Global programme to look at ways of preventing and treating diabetic kidney disease

by Sarita Sheth on October 25, 2012

A $7 million initiative brings together top scientists for a three year programme

Scientists are to look into identifying possible ways of preventing and treating diabetic kidney disease.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and it is estimated that around a third of people with type 1 diabetes develop diabetic kidney disease, known as diabetic nephropathy, which results in a slow deterioration of the kidneys and their function.

The Juvenile Diabetic Research Foundation is funding a $7 million initiative to bring together top scientists in the field to expand previous research and share findings in what is set to be the largest analysis of the complication to date.

In a three year programme scientists will explore the genetic components of diabetic nephropathy in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Finland and the Republic of Ireland.

‘Over the years, smaller studies have increased our insight into possible genetic factors associated with diabetic nephropathy but we determined that the most effective way to tackle hurdles in this research would be to pool, compare, and expand knowledge in this area from scientific groups and patient cohorts around the globe,’ said Helen Nickerson, JDRF’s senior scientific programme manager.

Severe cases of diabetic nephropathy can eventually result in kidney failure but some patients who have lived with diabetes for a long time do not develop diabetic nephropathy, while others who have had diabetes for a shorter length of time quickly progress.

Research has pointed toward genetic factors for their perceived role in the risk of developing diabetic nephropathy, but scientists do not yet have a full picture of the specific genes involved.

The three initial key activities of the collaborative project include looking for genes that differ between people who do or do not have diabetic nephropathy, identifying genes which predict how quickly a person may develop kidney failure and identifying genes which predict rapid progression of decline in renal function.

‘By supporting more extensive studies and creating a platform for widespread collaboration, JDRF is striving to better identify ways to predict, prevent, and treat this devastating complication of diabetes. We hope that this research will lead to new drug targets and biomarkers for diabetic nephropathy,’ explained Dr. Nickerson.

‘To be in a position to join together the best scientific teams in the world in the area of diabetic nephropathy genetics is a privilege, and we look forward to new findings that will result from this important initiative,’ she added.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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