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7th February 2024 Latest News

Funding boost for kidney, transplant, diabetes research


The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group is thrilled to announce a fresh $100,000 for three new projects targeting diabetes, transplantation and kidney disease. 

In this latest grant round, THRF Group and its charity Kidney, Transplant and Diabetes Research Australia have teamed up with the Central and Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplantation Service (CNARTS) to deliver the new projects. 

Funding provided in this round was made possible thanks to the generous support of our donors. 

The successful projects are: 

Professor Toby Coates and PhD candidate Jacqueline Scaffidi – A novel therapy for Type 1 Diabetes
University of Adelaide | Royal Adelaide Hospital 

Regulatory T-Cells (or Tregs) are a type of white blood cell that stops the body’s immune system from attacking its own cells. Special engineered Tregs are referred to as CAR Tregs, and it is thought that they may be able to control the autoimmunity which occurs during Type 1 diabetes (T1D). 

A new target for CAR Tregs is a protein in the pancreas called GAD65, found in about 70-80% of newly diagnosed T1D patients. This project will test how effective the CAR Tregs are at supressing the autoimmunity that occurs during T1D, thereby potentially protecting the insulin-producing cells within the pancreas from being destroyed. 

Dr Brett Tarca – Enhancing dialysis through exercise
University of South Australia 

Peritoneal dialysis is increasing in prevalence across the globe for people living with kidney disease, allowing patients to self-manage their treatment from home. But they must maintain sufficient physical health to do this, or they could experience poor outcomes. 

Despite the growing use of peritoneal dialysis, people receiving it typically experience physical decline and are not given strategies to prevent this. This project will trial a 12-week exercise-based intervention as a potential strategy to enhance physical function. 

Dr Erandi Hewawasam – Optimising Tacrolimus use in pregnancy
University of Adelaide | SAHMRI/ANZDATA | Pregnancy and Kidney Research Australia 

To lower the risk of rejection after an organ transplant, patients are commonly given the immunosuppressive drug Tacrolimus. However, its use in pregnant women has caused uncertainty world-wide. Physiological changes make it difficult to monitor the drug, leading clinicians to run the risk of underdosing or overdosing. 

This study aims to develop a better testing method to guide dosage levels, improving safety for the mother, the baby, and the transplant.