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NURTuRE Showcase 2023: driving progress through collaboration

30 November 2023

92 researchers, healthcare professionals, patients and members of the Kidney Research UK team met in London on 22 November for our first-ever NURTuRE Showcase. This event provided important updates on the next steps for the NURTuRE biobank, while also promoting new partnerships within the renal research community. 

Meeting the growing challenge of kidney disease through NURTuRE

Following opening addresses from Showcase co-chairs Michael Nation, director of NURTuRE at Kidney Research UK and Professor Moin Saleem, University of Bristol and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, our first presenter Professor Caroline Savage shared findings from our recent report ‘Kidney Disease: A UK public health emergency’. This new evidence on the current, and likely future, impact of kidney disease, alongside powerful patient testimony, reminded all delegates of the challenges we face in tackling kidney disease and the need for innovative approaches in this area. 

Further presentations during the morning session included Professor Moin Saleem on why NURTuRE is so vital for the future of idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (INS) management and Professor Maarten Taal from the University of Leicester (virtual presentation) discussing how NURTuRE can answer many of the outstanding questions on chronic kidney disease (CKD). The final presentation of session one, by Professor Roz Banks from the University of Leeds, focused on the potential for NURTuRE to enable development of newer, less invasive, ways to identify and monitor kidney diseases (known as 'biomarkers’; virtual presentation). We were also delighted to welcome some of our patient partners to the meeting, who offered key insights into why this work is so important. 

Main wearing black jumper and blue jacket
Professor Moin Saleem

Introducing NURTuRE

NURTuRE contains information from patients living with different types of kidney disease in the UK, providing a unique resource to support important new research. To date, patients diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (INS) have been recruited, with acute kidney injury (AKI) scheduled to begin soon. 

The NURTuRE team collected and securely stored biological samples from approximately 3,000 patients with CKD and 740 patients with idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (INS). This type of collection of samples for research is known as a ‘biobank’. In addition to samples of plasma, serum, urine, DNA and tissue, NURTuRE will link to long-term clinical (healthcare) data, through the UK Renal Registry and NHS Digital. The information in NURTuRE is designed support carefully selected new research, offering hope to many patients living with kidney diseases. From early in 2024, researchers will be able to apply for access to NURTuRE.

two males and a female talking to each other at the event reception
Delegates at the NURTuRE showcase 2023

Enabling progress in kidney disease identification and management with NURTuRE 

Session two saw Professor David Wheeler, from University College London and Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust, and Dr Keiran McCafferty, of Barts Health NHS Trust, focus on how NURTuRE can support new clinical trials in kidney disease and improving approaches to treating patients who live with more than one medical condition (for example kidney disease and diabetes or heart disease). The lunch break offered an important opportunity for delegates to speak to the NURTuRE team, leading into the afternoon sessions which provided the latest news on this important resource. 

man talk to two females
Michael Nation, director of NURTuRE

During the final presentations of a busy and informative day, Dr Samira Bell from the University of Dundee and Ross Forsyth, British Heart Foundation Data Science Centre explained the safeguards in place to ensure that all NURTuRE information is stored securely. Dr Liz Colby, from the University of Bristol and Dr Kristian Spreckley, Kaizen Bioservices, followed, providing key details on the information in NURTuRE and processes for applying to access from Spring 2024.  

Dr Philipp Skroblin, from Evotec and Professor Iain MacPhee, AstraZeneca, finished a highly successful day by discussing their roles in NURTuRE and how they hoped the resulting work will benefit the kidney patient community. Michael Nation, director of NURTuRE noted “NURTuRE is a true example of partnership between many different groups with a common aim; driving new and improved ways to diagnose and treat kidney disease. As we start to support carefully-selected new research projects with NURTuRE in 2024, we would like to thank everyone who has been involved to date, but particularly those patients who donated their samples or views and insights to make NURTuRE possible.”

The Kidney Research Data Portal

Further to Dr Samira Bell’s presentation, we would also like to invite you to add meta data about any datasets you hold onto the new kidney research data portal (KRDP).  

The portal is designed to make UK kidney data sets discoverable for renal researchers, enabling easier identification of opportunities for collaboration, and supporting crucial new studies benefiting those living with kidney disease.  

This is a resource for the whole community and we’re encouraging kidney investigators to add key details about the data sets they hold onto the platform to make it discoverable for other researchers. Find out more about and access the portal.

Find out more

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