University team's genetic breakthrough in kidney research
BRISTOL researchers have discovered genes that could help them predict who could be affected by a type of kidney disease.
The Bristol University team was involved in the project that identified two genes strongly associated with kidneys leaking protein.
The study was carried out by a European consortium chaired by Professor Peter Mathieson, the dean of the university's faculty of medicine. It has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine .
The researchers studied people in France, Holland and Britain and found the two genes they associated with the disease were replicated precisely in all of the groups.
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Idiopathic membranous nephropathy, or leaky kidneys, is a cause of progressive kidney disease that can lead to failure and the eventual need for dialysis or transplant.
Prof Mathieson said it is one of the commonest kidney disorders.
The findings will allow a better understanding of the cause of the disease and enable the use of genetics to predict who might be affected by the disease and the possibility of recurrence of the disease.
Prof Mathieson said: "Our findings suggest a way of understanding this disease and explain how genes play an important role in the human immune system and in autoimmune disease. We know some people get it and some people don't and don't really understand why.
"The genetics we found were exactly the same in the UK, Holland and France. Down the line this could lead to better treatments."