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New study looking at nanomedicines for the treatment of kidney disease

15 February 2022

With our funding, Dr Steve McAdoo and his team at Imperial College London will investigate whether a novel targeted nanomedicine can be used to treat glomerulonephritis without the toxic side effects associated with the current treatment options.

Less toxic treatments for inflammation are desperately needed

Glomerulonephritis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the kidney, leading to inflammation, and it is a common cause of kidney failure. Current treatments aim to suppress the immune system to prevent kidney inflammation, but these treatments are not always effective, and many patients experience harmful side effects, including severe infections, diabetes, infertility, weight gain and thinning of the bones. We desperately need more effective and less toxic treatment options for glomerulonephritis.

Could nanomedicines hold the answer? 

Nanomedicines are microscopic ‘carrier’ particles that can deliver drugs directly to the organs or tissues where they are needed in the body. They are a really promising method to improve drug treatments and they may offer a way to make drugs more effective while also avoiding potential side effects caused by exposure to a drug throughout the whole body.  

Steve and his collaborators have previously designed a nanomedicine to carry a ‘repair protein’ specifically to sections of diseased blood vessels affected by atherosclerosis (a disease that occurs when fatty material collects in the lining of blood vessels, causing inflammation). The repair protein was then able to reduce inflammation in the areas of atherosclerosis in the diseased blood vessels. 

We have awarded Steve an innovation grant to apply this nanomedicine approach to treat inflammation in the kidney. The team will test the effect of nanoparticles carrying a repair protein in laboratory rats that have a form of glomerulonephritis that mimics disease in humans. The team will test whether the particles get to the correct place in the kidneys, whether they are effective at treating the disease, and how the particles affect the immunes cells that cause kidney inflammation. 

Dr Steve McAdoo
Dr Steve McAdoo, Imperial College London

What does this mean for patients?

This novel approach may provide an innovative new way to improve drug efficiency while reducing potential side effects in a number of autoimmune and inflammatory kidney diseases in the future. 

“This innovation award will allow us to explore an exciting new way to target treatments right to where they are needed, in the kidney,” said Steve. “We hope that by limiting unnecessary drug exposure in other organs and tissues, we may reduce side effects and improve outcomes for patients with kidney disease in the future.” 

Steve’s research is funded by an Innovation Grant from Kidney Research UK for £40,000 

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