Progressive kidney diseases – whether caused by obesity, hypertension, diabetes, or rare genetic mutations – often have the same outcome: The cells responsible for filtering the blood are destroyed.
A team led by researchers at the Broad Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School have described a new approach to prevent death in these essential kidney cells. By studying multiple animal models of kidney disease, the team discovered a compound that can impede loss of the filtration cells and restore kidney function. The work, inspired by an investigation into a genetic form of the condition, has the potential to affect therapeutic research for millions of people suffering from progressive kidney diseases.
Understanding kidney disease
Commenting on the aims of the research team, senior author Anna Greka, an institute member at Broad, Associate Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, said: “We’re ultimately trying to create a drug that can protect these critical filtration cells in the kidney.