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Kidney Research UK’s biggest project, to create a bank of patient samples that may help unlock some of the mysteries surrounding kidney disease, is gathering pace.

It is hoped the NURTuRE biobank project will help shape research into discovering new treatments, uncovering the secrets behind kidney conditions and assist in the discovery of many of the answers to the problems faced by renal patients today.

The plan is to collect over a million samples from chronic kidney disease (CKD and idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (INS) patients, which can be used by researchers by 2019. One of the hospitals helping to do that has reached its CKD patient recruitment target already.

Ronald Keeling 86 – from Alvaston, Derby, is the 300th patient at The Royal Derby Hospital to be recruited to the project this month and as one of 14 sites taking part in NURTuRE, this takes the total number of patients already participating in the project to over 1,600.

Derby research team
Deby Research Team - Left to right: Joely Dixey, Research HCA; Carly McDonald, research nurse; Ronald Keeling, 300th patient; Sam Hussain, Renal Research Practitioner (behind Mr Keeling); Kelly White, renal research nurse and Daniel Blakemore, Lab technician.

Kelly White, renal research nurse at Derby, said: “I feel privileged to be involved in the NURTuRE project. It is such a unique concept that has the potential to improve treatments for kidney patients and ultimately lead to better outcomes. It has been fantastic meeting patients with their enthusiasm and willingness to be involved in such an exciting project, and thanks to the hard work of the entire NURTuRE team we have achieved our target of 300 [CKD] patients.”

NURTuRE (the National Unified Renal Translational Research Enterprise) is the first kidney biobank for CKD and INS covering England, Scotland and Wales.

Elaine Davies, Director of Research Operations at Kidney Research UK said: “We are delighted that over 1,500 patients have already given their consent for the NURTuRE biobank to contain their health data and provided blood and urine samples. This will enable vital research to be undertaken, to help us understand more about chronic kidney disease and idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, leading to earlier diagnosis, appropriate referral to a kidney doctor, and hopefully, the development of treatments to prevent or slow down the progression of kidney failure.”

The bank will be on a scale not seen before in the UK, and will ultimately contain samples from 3,000 patients with CKD and over 800 patients with INS. This will open up a wealth of new opportunities for all researchers and industry to accelerate advances that will benefit kidney patients, their treatment and their care.

Uniquely, anyone accessing the samples will be required to share their research findings, via the biobank, after publication which will ultimately speed up the progress of renal research.

Maarten Taal, Professor of Medicine at Nottingham University who jointly leads the project said: “NURTuRE is an exciting project that will accelerate much needed research into kidney disease in the UK. We are delighted that patients have supported the study enthusiastically. I’m very grateful to the Derby team who have worked together with commitment and enthusiasm to reach this important milestone. Congratulations on an outstanding effort”.

The NURTuRE project is being jointly delivered through the University of Bristol, led by Moin Saleem, Professor of Paediatric Renal Medicine, supported by Liz Colby as co-ordinator for the NURTuRE-INS (NephroS) study; and the University of Nottingham, led by Maarten Taal, Professor of Medicine, supported by Fiona Robertson, co-ordinator of the NURTuRE-CKD study. The biobank is funded by AbbVie Inc, Evotec AV, Retrophin, UCB Celltech Biopharma and Kidney Research UK.

Patient groups, (in particular the Nephrotic Syndrome Trust and Kidney Research UK’s Lay Advisory Committee), have been involved at all stages in the development of NURTuRE.

If you are a kidney patient in one of the participating hospitals, you may be able to volunteer to be a part of renal research in the future by signing up to provide samples for the NURTuRE biobank. To see if your hospital is taking part, visit:

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