Research led by an Arizona State University biomedical engineer and physicist to find more effective ways of detecting the onset of kidney disease is getting support from the National Institutes of Health.
The NIH has awarded $400,000 to Kevin Bennett, an assistant professor of the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, one of ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
The grant will support his team's research focusing on a common form of kidney disease called nephritis.
"A significant portion of the diabetic population and others will develop kidney disease. The earlier we can detect it, the more likely it is that we can effectively treat it," Bennett says.
The current method of identifying kidney disease is to perform a biopsy, which can be painful for patients and prone to errors. Bennett is working on a method using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology that involves magnetic particles.
His team has engineered magnetic nanoparticles that stick to the glomerulus, a part of the kidney that is attached to the nephron. The nephron is a part of the kidney that regulates the level of water and soluble substances in the blood.
By doing an MRI scan on a kidney onto which magnetic nanoparticles have been bound, it creates a visible distortion in the image that enables researchers to extract information about the nephron.
The distortions in such images enable nephrons to be accurately located, their size can be determined and changes in their behavior can be revealed. "If we can detect changes in nephron function early, patients can be treated earlier and with better results," Bennett says.
Another application of the research is in examination of the relationship between the number of nephrons and the risk of cardiovascular and kidney diseases in humans, which is currently done by taking sections of body tissue.
Researchers are also looking at how nanoparticle up
|Contact: Joe Kullman|
Arizona State University