St Peter’s Trust Research Projects
As a result of major technological advances in science over the last forty years it has become possible to discover how our bodies are regulated at the level of the different microscopically small cells that make up our various tissues and organs, and which hold our genetic material. The cell is the smallest functional unit that can operate more or less independently in any organism, and a human being is made up of millions of cells. Research at the cellular level has been funded by St Peter’s Trust for many years, and important findings have been reported by the scientists and clinicians the Trust has supported - in diseases such as diabetes, renal stones, complications of renal failure, bladder malfunction and prostatic cancer.
GRANTS AWARDED IN 2019
Renal Cancer Tumouroids: New generation 3D in vitro models created from individual patients for testing drug responses. £84,154.
The research team will use patients’ tumour cells to create a 3-dimensional culture (a tumouroid) to compare with xenografts and to determine whether or not they are more useful and suited for a clinical trial. (Marilena Loizidou, Maxine Tran, Elnaz Yaghini)
A Novel therapeutic target in acute kidney injury. £11,000.
To investigate a new treatment for acute kidney injury. This is an additional part of Timo Haschler’s PhD programme, currently funded by the St Peter’s Trust. (Timo Haschler, Jill Norman, Alan Salama)
GRANTS AWARDED IN 2018
Purchase of a next generation Azure c600 chemiluminescent, UV, RGB and laser NIR imaging system
This replaces a piece of equipment that is no longer fit for service. It will be shared by several groups in the laboratory. All equipment purchased by SPT remains the property of SPT but St Peter’s Trust are not responsible for servicing or maintaining it.
Joanne Marks on behalf of the Centre for Nephrology. Testing a complement inhibitor
This project is to test a new anti-complement treatment developed and synthesised by Dr Gale’s group. This is a potentially exciting area of research with multiple applications in treatment of renal diseases.
Professor Daniel Gale.
Influence of the gut and urinary microbiota on outcomes after renal transplantation
This was a request for consumables. This application for consumables seeks to obtain pilot data and would form the basis of larger studies. Dr Motallebzadeh is a new academic appointment and the application is in the strategically important area of kidney transplantation.
Dr Reza Motallebzadeh.
Domiciliary REcovery After Medicalisation Pathway (DREAM Path)
There are many advantages (not just financial) to get people home after surgery with remote monitoring. The application seeks to harness technology to improve patient outcomes after major surgery. It has many wider implications which might improve patient care in the future. The applicant is currently undertaking a PhD.
Genetic analysis using high performance computing in chronic kidney disease
An application for equipment to help with a very ambitious project to examine genetic factors in the progression of Chronic Kidney Disease. The group, which works with Robert Kleta, is consistently successful and publishing world class research.
Dr Horia Stanescu.
GRANTS AWARDED IN 2017
(To preserve confidentiality, details of research projects will not be published until the first report has been submitted. However, anyone who wishes to learn more may approach the principal investigator via the Trust )
Understanding renal Fanconi syndrome associated with a mutation in HNF4A
This is a project for a doctoral thesis and will be fully funded by the Trust.
Enriko Klootwijk/Professor Robert Kleta.
Are the mechanisms for controlling post-prandial phosphate homeostasis different in obesity, diabetes and chronic kidney disease?
Part funding for this PhD project was for consumables. Application for funding from other sources has been made.
Dr Joanne Marks/Professor Robert Unwin.
Surgical Visiting Professorship
Professor Hadley Wood, reconstructive urologist at the Cleveland Clinic, USA, was appointed visiting professor for 2017. She attended in October to conduct teaching seminars.
GRANTS AWARDED IN 2016
Grants totalling £119,277 were awarded in 2016 for the following projects:
Genetic aetiology of rare chronic kidney disease
There are epidemics of chronic kidney disease of unknown cause in many countries of the world, including the UK. Genetic experts at the Centre for Nephrology, RFH, will collaborate with an international group of researchers in studying existing DNA samples from several hundred patients from countries where conditions that are rare in the UK are common. Assessment of genetic variations leading to susceptibility to the disease in overseas patients could identify the genetic origins of the disease in the UK.
Dr Ben Caplin, Dr Horia Stanescu. UCL Centre for Nephrology
Development of new filter membranes for haemodialysis
A patient with kidney failure is unable to excrete waste products in the urine. These accumulate and cause harm in the body as a whole. Haemodialysis treatments remove these toxins by passing the patient’s blood through the dialyser. The project aims to widen the range of toxins that can be cleared from the body by developing new filtration membranes and enable the 2 million patients being treated to survive for longer and in better health.
Dr Andrew Davenport, Director of Dialysis Research, RFH, Dr Kwang-Leong Choy, Director of UCL Institute for Materials Discovery.
The role of Notch-2 signalling in antibody-mediated kidney transplant rejection
Transplantation is the recommended treatment for many patients with end-stage kidney disease and it can greatly improve the quality and length of life. Antibodies produced by the patient’s immune system are the commonest reason for a transplant ultimately failing. This project will develop a new way of detecting the antibodies, using donor tissue taken at the time of transplantation, and will see if changes in Notch-2 (a key receptor in body tissue) can influence production of these damaging antibodies.
Professor Alan Salama, Dr Ciara Magee and Professor H. Strauss, UCL Centre for Nephrology and UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation.
Targeted molecular characterisation of immune response in a prostate cancer model following minimally invasive therapy
If the cancer is contained within the prostate it can be treated with therapies using light or ultrasound to enhance the delivery of intravenously injected agents such as chemotherapy drugs directly to the cancer cells. When cells die through such treatments it is believed that the body reacts by mounting an immune response that makes more of them die and so makes this action even more successful. The project aims to understand this response and find treatments that harness the immune system and use it to kill these cells.
Dr Rifat Hamoudi, Ms Caroline Moore, Prof Alexander MacRobert, Miss Sandra de Pinillos Bayona. UCL/UCLH Departments of Urology, Pathology and Photochemistry/Photobiology.
Detection and characterisation of circulating tumour cells in renal cell carcinoma
As tumours grow they can release cells called circulating tumour cells (CTCs) into the bloodstream, but in kidney cancer they have been difficult to detect due to problems in finding reliable markers. Two independent methods of isolating CTCs in renal cancer will be investigated. Measuring them could prove very useful as predictors of likely outcome for the patient and/or response to treatment.
Dr Joana de Azevedo Barreiros Briosa Neves, Dr Agata Nyga, Dr MaxineTran, Professor Mark Emberton. UCL/UCLH Urology, Oncology Division of Science and Interventional Science.
ELx50 microplate strip washer for image guided biopsy and biomarker testing in patients with prostate cancer
Microplate washers are used in many assays at cell level and the main objective here will be to test biological samples (urine, blood, plasma) for the presence of known and novel biomarkers and to validate them for indications of prostate cancer. A separate study of 600 patients is currently evaluating the role of MRI in men with clinical suspicion of prostate cancer. As well as magnetic resonance imaging it also holds blood and urine samples and prostate tissue from biopsies These samples provide a unique opportunity to find the most promising markers and use them in conjunction with MRI for improved diagnosis and treatment.
Dr L M C Echeverria, Dr Haley Whitaker, Mr Hashim Ahmed, UCL/UCLH Urology & Centre for Molecular Intervention.
Kidney, Bladder and Prostate research groups are able to apply for annual grants from St Peter's Trust. Find out more about these research groups.
Established 1970, St Peter's Trust continues today to fund research into Kidney, Bladder & Prostate disorders.