Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in the UK. In collaboration with the University of Bristol, BU is in receipt of (another) three year grant that ultimately, we hope, will lead to the discovery of new treatments to prevent kidney failure developing in patients with diabetes.
The work, using patient data and BU’s Drosophila (fruit fly) kidney model, will look at how preventing the disruption of energy within kidney filtration cells called podocytes might slow or prevent kidney failure. The image shows the surface of a podocyte-like cell within a fruit fly, with linear arrays of filtration slits covering its surface. These minute structures are common to both human and fly cells and become damaged when energy is depleted in the cells – leading to loss of cell function. Flies allows us to understand the molecular basis of how this leads to kidney failure in humans – and guides us as to which molecules to target in the patients.
Dr. Paul S. Hartley.