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UKE Scientists Detect New Autoantibody

Discovery may put an end to dialysis. Co-operation of UKE with scientists from France and the U.S.

Together with scientists from Boston, USA, and Nice, France, the working group of Prof Dr Rolf Stahl, director of the III. Medical Clinic of the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), discovered a new cause for a special kidney disease. Their findings have been published in the prestigious US publication New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Protein Loss in the Urine Can Increase Blood Lipids

A common result of kidney diseases is the loss of protein in the urine. This protein loss typically draws more symptoms such as water retention in the tissue and an increase in blood lipid levels. In the further course, this could lead to the complete loss of kidney function, and thus to a dialysis, with patients having their blood regularly filtered by machines.

Hamburg Kidney Researchers Detect Circulating Autoantibodies

“In the blood of patients suffering from so-called membranous glomerulonephritis, we discovered circulating autoantibodies,” states Dr Nicola Tomas, IIII. Medical Clinic of the UKE and lead author of the research study. This disease is an inflammation of the glomeruli, which causes a severe loss of protein, and thus may create the need for dialysis. The autoantibodies discovered by Hamburg’s kidneys researchers are directed against a protein molecule (THSD7A) in the glomeruli and trigger off the disease, a process not yet known. The detection of circulating autoantibodies in these patients is a major advance in understanding this disease.

New Findings Could Mean The End Of Dialysis

The findings retrieved by the UKE researchers and their international fellow scientists prepare the grounds for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic treatments, which may soon end the need for dialysis. The scientific work of the UKE researchers has been funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the clinical research group “causes and treatment of glomerulonephritis.” In recent years, the kidneys researchers of UKE have dealt with a number of inflammatory kidney disease and significantly contributed to a better understanding of kidney diseases.

source and further details:

Dr. Nicola Tomas et al.: Thrombospondin Type 1 Domain Containing 7A in Idiopathic
Membranous Nephropathy, New England Journal of Medicine

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