The Medical School at the University of Birmingham is amongst four UK winners of the prestigious Genzyme Renal Innovations Programme (GRIP).
Dr Julie Williams was awarded a $99,000 USD grant for her research proposal on 'Mechanisms of induction of disrupted neutrophil function after binding of antineutrophil cytoplasm antibodies to proteinase 3 and co-receptors'.
The GRIP awards aim to reward innovation and commitment to the advancement of medical knowledge and practice in the area of kidney disease. The Programme, first launched in 2001, awards individual grants to researchers, clinicians and fellows working in kidney research.
Dr Williams says, "We are delighted to receive both the award and the grant for our research project. We look forward to communicating the findings in due course".
The project looks at antibodies produced against the body's own white blood cells, causing them to over-produce and leading to them lodging in the kidneys or lungs. It will examine the action of the antibody using innovative single molecule technologies - the SELDI technique. Expertise in Cancer Studies and Immunology departments will also be drawn upon.
Approximately 225,000 people in Europe and over 30,000 people in the UK suffer from end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and depend on dialysis to replace their kidney function. ESRD occurs when a significant portion of normal kidney function is lost.
Proposals from nearly 40 researchers throughout the world were assessed by an independent medical review board. Including Julie, four of the nine winners are UK based.
"We are delighted that the UK is the recipient of such a large number of awards," commented Dan Regan of global biotechnology company Genzyme. "Kidney disease is an immensely debilitating condition and this result shows the UK to be a leading light in kidney research."