"As a premier research institution, we're well-positioned to take advantage of a rapidly expanding knowledge of genetics and the power of bioinformatics to transform our understanding and treatment of rare diseases," says James Shayman, M.D., associate vice president for research at the University of Michigan.
"We recognize that combining our own institutional resources with those of the NIH and NephCure Foundation creates a unique opportunity for promoting rare disease research in nephrotic syndrome," he says.
A seed grant from the university's Office of the Vice President for Research Rare Disease Initiative was instrumental in securing funding for the new consortium.
While the U-M will function as the central operational hub, clinical investigators from 11 academic medical centers will make up the research team.
One of the joint initiatives will be to establish and maintain a Web site with educational and networking resources for patients, families, physicians and scientists.
Researchers will investigate minimal change disease, focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis, and membranous nephropathy, diseases known to damage kidney filter cells and can lead to kidney failure and death.
Some types of the syndrome are hereditary, but it can also manifest later in life for reasons largely unknown. The network will use molecular medicine tools to unravel the mechanism responsible for the diseases and potentially develop new targeted treatment therapies.
|Contact: Shantell M. Kirkendoll|
University of Michigan Health System