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Causes of heart disease in kidney disease patients: looking for a new approach

13 February 2023

Dr Soma Meran’s work is supported by a Kidney Research UK and Kidney Wales studentship grant of £75,000. 

The problem

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in kidney patients. Currently available medicines often don’t work well in kidney patients because, unlike in the general population, their heart disease is often caused by calcium and phosphate building up in blood vessels. This is called vascular-calcification (VC) and has no treatment.  

Dr Soma Meran
Dr Soma Meran

The solution

Dr Meran and team at Cardiff University will investigate what causes VC so that new, more specific, treatments can be developed to improve heart health in kidney patients. The research team think that high levels of inflammation in kidney disease can cause changes in the walls of arteries, encouraging them to harden into a bone-like state. By studying cells, laboratory models and blood samples, they will investigate the link between inflammation and changes in artery walls that may lead to heart disease. 

What this might mean for kidney patients

By studying the biological processes linked to heart disease in chronic kidney disease, this research could help to identify new treatments targeting the unique changes that occur as kidney failure progresses. 

Atasi Ghosh and Alex Taylor
Atasi Ghosh and Alex Taylor

As a kidney patient, finding out I also had a heart condition was difficult news. Heart disease can contribute to exhaustion and can complicate the journey to a transplant. This research offers hope that one day we will be able to prevent or treat heart disease in kidney patients. Alex Taylor

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