Kidney biopsies are invasive, dangerous and expensive. However thanks to a new study from the Trinity Health Kidney Centre, such procedures may soon be avoided.
Professor of Nephrology Mark Little was the recent recipient of a research grant from the US-based Vasculitis Foundation which will progress the team’s research in this area.
Professor Little and his team have discovered a new protein in the urine of patients with active vasculitis which subsequently disappears when they get better. It is hoped that by measuring this protein doctors will be guided on how long to give treatment for, thus avoiding the need for a biopsy.
The research will focus on patients with small vessel vasculitis, a group of rare autoimmune disorders which affects approximately 900 Irish people.
The team’s research will track the level of a novel urine protein (CD163) from diagnosis, through initial treatment (usually chemotherapy) to one year from diagnosis.
Speaking about the study, Professor Little commented: “This study will provide valuable information on what is happening in the kidney during treatment, which up until now could only be determined from a kidney biopsy. Knowledge gained could change the amount, type and duration of treatment that patients receive based on their urinary results. We hope this will translate into a reduction in the burden of treatment-related complications including infections and persistent disease.”