• Press Release

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and UW Medicine Collaborate on Multi-Center U.S. Kidney Research Project

Goal is personalized therapies for tens of millions of people with two most common diseases

  • New York, NY
  • (November 02, 2017)

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, along with the Kidney Research Institute, a collaboration of UW Medicine and Northwest Kidney Centers in Seattle, have joined forces on an ambitious, newly funded effort to care more precisely for the tens of millions of Americans who have chronic kidney disease or acute kidney injury. 

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is launching the “Kidney Precision Medicine Project,” a five-year effort that spans 18 sites across the United States. The NIDDK is one of the National Institutes of Health.

“We are excited to embark on this project with our colleagues at UW,” said Srinivas Iyengar, PhD, the Dorothy H. and Lewis Rosenstiel Professor of Pharmacological and Biological Chemistry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of the Mount Sinai Institute for Systems Biomedicine. “This is a unique opportunity to enhance care for many by shedding new light on the condition of the individual patient.”

“The goal is to transform the way we think about diagnose and treat the most common kidney diseases,” said Dr. Jonathan Himmelfarb, who heads the Kidney Research Institute and is a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “If we’re successful, we will categorize these diseases differently in the future, understand the molecular mechanisms at work in individual patients, and develop diagnostics and therapeutics that target each individual’s condition – instead of lumping patients together under a big-bucket diagnosis of ‘chronic kidney disease’ as we do now.”

Chronic kidney disease affects over 30 million Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and high blood pressure are common causes. With the condition, a person’s kidneys cannot adequately filter blood, causing wastes to accumulate in the body and increasing risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.

Acute kidney injury is a rapid deterioration of kidney function stemming from conditions such as blood loss, sepsis, dehydration, damage from medications, or as a complication of another serious illness.  It commonly affects patients who have been hospitalized and who are elderly, or are in the intensive care unit. Currently there are no effective treatments.

In the project, 18 university-based medical centers will divide the work, some with dual roles:

  • Six sites will recruit people with acute kidney injury or chronic kidney disease to be in the study and submit biopsy samples.
  • Ten sites will develop ways to scrutinize, or interrogate, human kidney tissue.
  • Four “central hub” sites will collect, coordinate, analyze, and visualize the data and samples and administratively support the project.

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the Kidney Research Institute, a collaboration of UW Medicine and Northwest Kidney Centers, and University of Miami, will serve as the central hub. The hub sites’ award, collectively, is $19.3 million over five years. Central to the project is the creation of an online atlas of patients’ biopsy samples that will extensively characterize kidney anatomy.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is in the "Honor Roll" of best hospitals in America, ranked No. 15 nationally in the 2016-2017 "Best Hospitals" issue of U.S. News & World Report. The Mount Sinai Hospital is also ranked as one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Geriatrics, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Ear, Nose & Throat, and is in the top 50 in four other specialties. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 10 nationally for Ophthalmology, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report in "Best Children's Hospitals."

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