New Zealand researcher awarded largest renal failure grant ever

With the incidence of kidney failure on the increase in this country, it is timely that the NZ Kidney Foundation has recently awarded a $76,000 grant to Professor Zoltan Endre to further research into renal failure. The grant is the largest single amount awarded by the NZ Kidney Foundation and has been largely funded from funds donated via an ongoing nationwide telephone appeal.

Currently almost 3,000 patients per year are on dialysis or awaiting a kidney transplant. While increased life expectancy combined with advances in medical treatment mean medical practitioners treat more elderly people affected by renal failure than ever before, the epidemic of diabetes type 2 is contributing to the increasing numbers affected by renal failure. New Zealand follows an international trend indicating statistics are worse for the indigenous population where hereditary factors and poor nutrition contribute to higher than average numbers affected.

Professor Endre, Head of the Department of Medicine at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, is an eminently suitable candidate for the research position. He brings a wealth of experience to the role, having edited and written more than 100 highly regarded publications. He currently serves as a member of two commissions for the International Society of Nephrology.

Following his graduation in medicine and science at Sydney University in 1975, Professor Endre has worked all over the world, making significant contributions to understanding the mechanisms and target sites of injury in acute renal failure.

Prof Endre has been studying renal failure since 1982. He has worked as a Nephrologist in Brisbane, Australia, Durban, South Africa and in Oxford, England and has spent research sabbaticals at the University of Heidelberg, the University of Colorado and Harvard University. His current main research interests are in acute renal failure, hypertension and the vascular and tubular response to cellular injury in the kidney. The present research project extends this work into the study of factors leading to progression of renal failure.

The grant from the NZ Kidney Foundation will make a significant contribution to the work that is already being undertaken by a team of research fellows recruited by Prof Endre. A team of researchers will be establishing models of chronic renal failure including several models of diabetic renal disease and will work in collaboration with genetic and cardiac research teams to develop new targets for therapy in progressive renal injury including diabetic nephropathy.

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