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Penn Medicine Gets $3M From Pharma Consortium for Diabetic Kidney Disease Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine research team has received $3 million from a consortium of pharmaceutical companies to search for biomarkers of rapidly declining kidney function in patients with diabetic kidney disease.

In this study, called TRIDENT (Transformative Research In DiabEtic NephropaThy), UPenn researchers led by Katalin Susztak plan to collect multi-omic data in order to find genomic or other markers that distinguish patients with rapidly declining kidney function from those who are experiencing a slow decline. The hope is that the results can also uncover potential therapeutic targets.

Susztak and colleagues plan to collect kidney biopsy tissue, as well as blood and urine samples, from a cohort of 300 patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who have undergone a clinically indicated kidney biopsy at one of 12 US and Canadian clinical sites.

The team will then use multi-omic methods to better understand the pathways involved, and hopefully to identify molecular differences that can distinguish slow versus rapid kidney function decline.

The pharma consortium that is supporting the project includes Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, and Regeneron. Each member will have access to the molecular markers and pathways identified in the study, which they can use in their own drug discovery efforts.

Although several new biomarkers have been discovered in recent years with potential to identify patients at risk for rapid loss of kidney function, there remain unanswered questions, Susztak said in a statement.

UPenn noted that Susztak has consulted previously for GSK and has received research support from Boehringer Ingelheim for projects unrelated to TRIDENT.