14 February 2020

Johan van der Vlag and Tom Nijenhuis, theme Renal disorders, received this grant for their joint research project “Targeting a novel paracrine signaling pathway between glomerular endothelium and podocytes to treat glomerular injury”.

In patients with rare kidney filter (glomerular) disorders, glomerular injury leads to urinary protein leakage and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Novel therapies to treat glomerular disease or the ensuing progressive CKD have not emerged during the last decade. Thus, there is an unmet need for novel treatment targets, which can be translated into clinically applicable therapy at short term.It is increasingly recognized that paracrine signaling between glomerular endothelial cells and podocytes is crucial to glomerular integrity. Based on preliminary data from their laboratory, Van der Vlag and Nijenhuis hypothesized that nitric oxide (NO) produced by the endothelium activates a podocyte signaling pathway crucial to maintain podocyte viability. This novel paracrine glomerular endothelium-to-podocyte pathway could be therapeutically targeted by repurposing sGC stimulators/activators like Riociguat®.

Johan van der Vlag heads the Nephrology Research Laboratory and, fueled by clinical research questions, focuses on glomerular diseases and (transplantation) immunology. Tom Nijenhuis, internist-nephrologist, specializes in rare kidney disorders.
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