15 Jun 2020

$2M MRFF grant win for reducing chronic kidney disease in Australia's Indigenous population

The MRFF Indigenous Health CKD team members L-R: CIA Prof Mark Cooper (Monash University), CIB Ms Kim Morey (SAHMRI), CIC Prof Paul Zimmet (MU), CID Mr Ricky Mentha (Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute), CIE Prof Karin Jandeleit-Dahm (MU), CIF Prof Assam El-Osta (MU), CIG Prof Stephen McDonald (SAHMRI)

Congratulations to Professor Mark Cooper, Department of Diabetes, on the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) funding award in the area of Indigenous Health research. The Monash University Diabetes researchers are collaborating with researchers at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in South Australia on a project entitled "Reducing the burden of chronic kidney disease in the Indigenous population - the PROPHECY CKD study" (APP1200005) which has been awarded $1,995,895 across five years.

Unfortunately, the Indigenous Australian population are arguably one of the highest risk groups worldwide for rapid progression to end-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD), most commonly associated with type 2 diabetes. Building on the largest ever prospectively evaluated cohort of Indigenous Australian adults with or at risk of diabetes, South Australia’s PROPHECY cohort, the research team plan to further characterise the natural history of kidney disease in this population. Using state-of-the-art techniques, including novel epigenomics approaches and biomarkers previously validated in Caucasian populations, they will define the best approaches to predict and monitor development of CKD in this population.

With dramatic improvements in the prevention and management of diabetic kidney disease - albeit not studied previously in the Indigenous population - the group will also specifically test the renoprotective effects of SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 agonists in this population.

Prof Cooper said, "We have an amazing team of researchers for this project. It's one of the leading groups worldwide in diabetic kidney disease working in partnership with Indigenous research leaders who are particularly interested in reducing the burden of chronic diseases in the Indigenous population. We aim to make a real difference to Indigenous people's lives through this study.

"CKD's 'natural history' - that is, the progression of a disease - is not well understood in the Australian Indigenous population, so we will drill down to understand and describe the development and predictors of  kidney disease in this population This will provide us with meaningful data to develop guidelines for the monitoring and prediction of CKD in this population. Additionally, we're going to test two exciting treatments which are protective for the kidney, which we think should halve the progression and development of CKD in diabetic and potentially non-diabetic Indigenous Australians."

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