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Identifying Genetic Causes of Kidney Failure

Feb. 27, 2014

The Medical College of Wisconsin has received a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to evaluate human genetic variants contributing to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or kidney failure.

Howard J. Jacob, PhD, Warren P. Knowles Professor of Genetics, professor of physiology and director of the Human and Molecular Genetics Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), is the principal investigator.

End stage renal disease usually occurs after years of chronic kidney disease, and is defined by the kidneys’ inability to work at a level required for day-to-day life. The incidence of ESRD has increased by 600 percent since 1980, and in 2010, more than 870,000 people were being treated for ESRD. Common causes include diabetes and high blood pressure, but genetic susceptibility also plays a critical role in the disease process.

In this project, Dr. Jacob’s research team will identify new genes involved in kidney function, evaluate identified variants believed to be involved in kidney failure, and glean a better understanding of the genetic architecture of proteinuria, a condition that is often a precursor of ESRD. New insights into this disease process could identify new therapeutic targets for treating ESRD.

This project is funded by NIH grant 2R01HL069321-09A1.

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