29 Nov 2019

Answering a fundamental question about the cause of Diabetic Kidney Disease

Dr Jay Jha, who has won a DARP grant
to investigate the origin of DKD
Congratulations to Dr Jay Jha, an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow, Department of Diabetes, on his successful grant award from Diabetes Australia Research Program (DARP). The grant of $60,000 is for one year, to investigate the pathological relevance of pro-oxidant enzyme NOX5 in diabetic kidney disease (DKD).

The rising prevalence of diabetes and its complications including diabetic kidney disease (DKD) poses a heavy burden on the global healthcare system. DKD is the major cause of chronic kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplantation. Despite recent advances, current treatment strategies fail to prevent or cure this disorder. Thus, there remains a major unmet need for more effective treatments for DKD.

Dr Jha's grant is for researching a mechanism-based potential solution. As readers will know, we don't know how to fix something until we know how it works in the first place, hence the need for what's known in physiology for 'mechanism-based' solutions. In this instance, oxidative stress due to the excessive formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) plays a critical pathogenic role in the development and progression of DKD.

Dr Jha's ongoing research on NADPH oxidases has identified that Nox5 is highly expressed in human diabetic kidney and therefore, his work will explore if Nox5 is the major source of renal ROS in diabetes, thereby causing kidney damage. To answer this question, he will use a recently generated genetically modified diabetic Nox5KO rabbit model. He believes that the positive outcome of this project will provide the impetus for the development of Nox5 specific inhibitor for the prevention and treatment of DKD. He is based in Professor Karin Jandeleit-Dahm's research group specialising on diabetes and kidney disease, in the Monash University Department of Diabetes.

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