More than 20,000 kidney transplants were performed in the European Union in 2018. While improving survival and quality of life, these procedures leave patients susceptible to a host of complications, such as renal fibrosis. Renal biopsy, which is the major means of diagnosing and monitoring fibrosis, is invasive and distressing for patients.
- To develop FIBROKIT, a non-invasive alternative to renal biopsy, to improve prevention, prediction, diagnosis and monitoring of fibrosis in kidney-transplant patients. This diagnostic kit for renal fibrosis is based on urinary biomarkers, meaning that data is obtained from non-invasive samples, and patients can be monitored more frequently.
Problem to Solve
Renal fibrosis is the major cause of chronic dysfunction and graft-loss in kidney transplant patients. The current "gold standard" for the diagnosis of chronic dysfunction is renal biopsy. However, this procedure is not only invasive to patients and high in cost, it also comes with its own potential complications and risks. For this reason, it is important to investigate and develop non-invasive strategies to replace this procedure.
Urine is one of the best non-invasive source of biomarkers. Urine contains extracellular vesicles (uEVs) derived from the whole urogenital system, which are loaded with relevant information (miRNA and proteins).
The FIBROKIT team has recently identified a protein (SEQ1920) that positively correlates with the degree of renal fibrosis in kidney-transplant patients. The protein can be found in extracellular vesicles in urine, meaning that, for the first time, renal fibrosis diagnosis can be performed non-invasively, repetitively, and accurately. Moreover, this development could potentially be implemented regularly in clinical laboratories, as it would be based in already widely used techniques.