As the largest kidney research charity in the UK, nothing is going to stop us in our urgent mission to end kidney disease. We’re here to be heard, to make a difference, to change the future. This is a disease that ruins and destroys lives. It must be stopped.
Over the past 60 years, our research has made an impact. But kidney failure is rising, as are the factors contributing to it, such as diabetes and obesity. Today, we are more essential than ever.
Kidney disease affects three million people in the UK, treatments can be gruelling and currently there is no cure. Only research will end this and nobody can do it but us.
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Research can change lives
Kidney transplantation is the only treatment for patients suffering with end stage kidney failure. However, there are not enough donor kidneys available for the increasing number of people that need them. This is a major challenge, and scientists and medics need to make sure that every donor kidney that could be used is transplanted. To do this, donor kidneys need to be able to be stored longer without injury. Lots of damage happens when the kidney is taken out of the donor and stored before transplant. Finding ways to keep kidneys in a better way and helping to stop damage from happening will mean more kidneys can be transplanted.
Researchers in Manchester are hoping to extend the window during which a deceased donor kidney can be kept viable before transplant. Spurred on by his young nephew’s experience of kidney disease, Dr John Stone and his colleagues are trying to buy surgeons valuable time so fewer kidneys go to waste.
John is working with colleagues at the Ex-Vivo Research Centre in Manchester – a community interest company where all profits are pumped back into research to get products commercialised to the point where they can benefit patients. With funding from Kidney Research UK they are investigating whether man-made blood could allow kidneys to be stored in a better condition for a lot longer than is currently possible.
This is basically a device that makes the kidney think it is inside a healthy body. We now want to test new therapies that could be added to this device to stop some of the damage that occurs. The therapies we will look at occur in nature, where their job is to switch off the immune system and protect the kidney. We have shown that if we stick the therapy to something called a nanoparticle, we can deliver it to the right part of the kidney and stop injury from happening. We can attach different therapies to the same nanoparticle, making a ‘Swiss army knife’ that makes sure kidneys can be stored for longer in perfect health.
Having a kidney transplant is the best treatment for kidney failure but there is a drastic shortage of suitable organs. More than 5,000 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list and six people die every week waiting for their new kidney. This makes it so important that every healthy donated kidney is used.
Dr John Stone’s work is supported by a Kidney Research UK grant awarded in 2019 of £203,329.
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