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Lord Mayor visits Newcastle researchers shortlisted for national award

20 February 2020

The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor David Cook, visited the Royal Victoria Infirmary to see the work of specialist scientists first-hand. The team at the National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre is part of a film created by Kidney Research UK, which has been shortlisted for a National award.

Councillor Cook’s support is extending even further, as he’s taking part in Kidney Research UK’s Newcastle Bridges Walk, to raise vital funds for the charity.

Proud of Newcastle’s contribution to medicine

Speaking about his visit, Councillor Cook said: "I was delighted as Lord Mayor to have visited the aHUS unit (atypical Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome) at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI). This national centre in Newcastle leads the world in research and treatment of aHUS, yet another example of the contribution of our City to Medicine.

“The majority of patients with this rare condition in the past progressed to end-stage renal failure, and recurrent disease after renal transplantation was common. The unit's work is making a huge difference to people with rare kidney diseases, and to have this expertise here in Newcastle makes me very proud. A simple way for local people to support this research and fundraise for Kidney Research UK is to join the Newcastle Bridges Walk in June – a great event which will help to continue this ground-breaking work.”

The film, ‘Saving Lives – how genetics research changed the future for people with aHUS’ is about the impact medical research has had on the lives of people with a rare kidney. It tells the story of Ros, a young farrier who received life-saving treatment when her kidneys started to fail, and reveals how genetics research found a treatment which saved her.

Dr Victoria Shuttleworth (aHUS lab manager) with the Mayor
Dr Victoria Shuttleworth (aHUS lab manager) with the Mayor

Life-saving treatment thanks to Newcastle-led research

The film explains how research into the condition – funded by Kidney Research UK – was central to finding an effective treatment for aHUS.

Professor David Kavanagh, who now leads the research team in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University, spoke about the impact of bringing research into treatment:

“As a doctor, one of the most gratifying things was the fact that patients who had donated samples actually got to benefit in their own lifetime. This is a classic example of how you can turn bench research into bedside research. Within 15 years from the initial discovery, we were treating patients and stopping kidney failure.”

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