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Challenges in kidney disease: From cell culture to clinical trial

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Imperial College London

Lecture Theatre TBC

South Kensington Campus

London

SW7 2AZ

United Kingdom

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The lecture is free to attend and open to all, but registration is required in advance - book your seat via the registration button on this page

A pre-lecture reception with tea, coffee and cakes will be held from 16:45, whilst a wine reception with canapés will follow the lecture at 18:30 (venues TBC).

Abstract

Kidneys perform a number of essential roles in the body, including removal of waste products and of excess fluid. Disease in the kidney can occur in a number of ways, and can lead to long-term ill-health, kidney failure requiring transplantation or dialysis treatment, and in some cases death.

Immunoglobulin A Nephropathy, called IgAN for short (also known as Berger’s disease), is a condition that damages the glomeruli, the tiny filtering units inside the kidney where blood is cleaned. Treatment of IgA nephropathy has been a challenging problem. Over the last two decades, there have been major advances in optimising the care of patients with IgAN, but a significant proportion of sufferers eventually experience kidney failure requiring transplantation and dialysis. Many IgAN patients who undergo kidney replacement via organ donation also develop the disease in their donated kidney.

Recent research on this disease, carried out at a cellular level, is starting to provide some important clues about the best way to treat IgAN, which has led to development of an international clinical trial. Central to the investigations is an enzyme called Spleen Tyrosine Kinase, or SYK for short, which is involved in the body’s immune response. Kidney biopsies taken from patients with IgAN indicate that SYK levels and activity are higher than in non-diseased kidneys, and that this plays a role in disease development.

In his inaugural lecture, Professor Fred Tam will give an insight to his research that tests the effect of a special SYK-inhibitor in kidney cell culture experiments and preclinical studies. Professor Tam will also discuss a current clinical trial that have been based on results of cell culture research, and of the potential for his work to lead to better long-term treatment of some of the most common kidney diseases.

Biography

Professor Tam received his medical degree from University of Cambridge. He joined the former Royal Postgraduate Medical School and obtained his PhD in studying the role of cytokines in glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the filtering units of the kidney). His research training was supported by a Medical Research Council Training Fellowship and a National Kidney Research Fund (now Kidney Research UK) Senior Fellowship. He was appointed as a Senior Clinical Lecturer at Imperial College in 2003 and a Reader in Renal Medicine in 2011.

He has been investigating the importance of cytokines in pathogenesis of glomerulonephritis, diabetic kidney disease and rejection of transplanted kidney. His research group has developed experimental therapies of glomerulonephritis using soluble cytokine receptors, receptor antagonists and monoclonal antibodies, recombinant regulatory cytokines and signal transduction inhibitors (in collaboration with Professor Charles Pusey). He has also applied the experience from cytokine analysis and proteomics to development of non-invasive biomarkers for glomerulonephritis, for diabetic kidney disease and for complications in peritoneal dialysis patients (in collaboration with Professor Edwina Brown).

Professor Tam is the Principal Investigator of an international randomised controlled clinical trial of a Spleen Tyrosine Kinase (Syk) inhibitor in the treatment of IgA nephropathy. He also has additional interests in the unmet medical need of patients with other inflammatory diseases, and is the Founding Lead of the UK Rare Disease Group for Retroperitoneal Fibrosis

Together with Professor David Taube and the Transplantation Translational Research Group, he is investigating mechanisms of rejection of transplanted kidney and developing novel anti-rejection therapy. The expertise of his research group has been applied in the preclinical and early clinical development of anti-inflammatory therapies, in collaboration with industry. Together with Professor Robert Unwin (University College London), he has established the Purinergic Receptor Research Consortium in order to investigate the novel function of purinergic receptors in regulating inflammasome and cytokine secretions in renal diseases.Together with Dr. Andrew Frankel, he has established the Diabetic Nephropathy Translational Research Consortium to investigate disease mechanisms and to develop new therapy.

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Imperial College London

Lecture Theatre TBC

South Kensington Campus

London

SW7 2AZ

United Kingdom

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