Healthcare Blog

Gene Discovery Offers Clues About Causes Of Kidney Disease

April 15, 2017

Scientists have discovered 20 genes that could help explain the causes of kidney disease.

The study found that the genes help to control vital kidney functions, such as filtering waste substances from the blood, and could shed light on what goes wrong in patients with kidney failure.

The scientists say that identifying the genes that control kidney function is an important step in developing new treatments for chronic kidney disease (CKD), which affects one in ten adults in the UK.

The international team of scientists, including researchers at the University of Edinburgh, studied the genes of nearly 70,000 people across Europe.

The study identified 13 new genes that influence renal function and seven other genes that affect the production and secretion of creatinine - a chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism and filtered through the kidneys.

It is hoped that the discovery will lead to new drugs that could help to restore kidney function in people with chronic kidney disease or kidney failure.

The results are published in the journal Nature Genetics.

Dr Jim Wilson, a Royal Society Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh said: "The discovery of these 20 new genes is another example of how large collaborative genome wide association meta-analyses can open up the black box of disease mechanism, in this case kidney function. These deeper functional insights are the first steps to developing new treatments for chronic kidney disease."

The research was carried out in collaboration with scientists at 80 medical research institutions around the world.

The University of Edinburgh