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New approaches to identifying and removing harmful senescent cells in kidney disease patients

13 February 2023

Dr Katie Mylonas' work is supported by a joint Kidney Research UK-Thompson Family Charitable Trust fellowship grant of £315,000.

The problem

Some kidney cells become old or 'senescent' as a person ages, or during chronic kidney disease (CKD). These cells can produce harmful substances leading to scarring and preventing repair. Senescent cells are associated with CKD, heart disease and diabetes and, importantly, high numbers of senescent cells in kidney transplants reduce the length of time they function.

"I am absolutely delighted to receive this grant from KRUK. It will support me over the next five years to study how senescence contributes to kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes. Working with doctors and nurses, this new knowledge will support development of new medications to improve kidney and heart health." Dr Katie Mylonas

Dr Katie Mylonas
Dr Katie Mylonas

The solution

Dr Mylonas will look at how increasing age, CKD, heart disease and diabetes reduce the body's ability to remove senescent cells. She will also investigate the cause of this problem, and ways in which it might be overcome. The research team at the University of Edinburgh will develop a safe way to look for senescent cells in patient's hearts and kidneys using an imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET).

What this might mean for kidney patients

This research will help us to understand how senescent cells contribute to CKD, and accurately measure their levels in people living with CKD. This new knowledge will support development of new medications to target senescent cells.

Living with kidney disease

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