Nephrology Research

The Nephrology Team of researchers focuses on pathophysiology of renal disease through basic laboratory.One of the key missions of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is to extend the knowledge of pathophysiology of renal disease through basic laboratory and clinical research.

Key nephrology research includes an investigative focus on nephropathy in type 1 diabetes and in pediatric renal transplantation outcomes. Other  areas of interest to Children’s researchers include proteinuria, hypertension, tubulointerstitial nephritis and dysnatremias.

Ongoing extramural grants support the investigation of the genetic epidemiology of urinary tract abnormalities and of the genetic aspects of nephrotic syndrome and of focal glomerulosclerosis. These are all common and important disorders in children. In addition Children’s researchers are conducting a biomarker-based study of BK virus, a polyoma virus, as it relates to renal allograft injury after renal transplantation in childhood.

Other nephrology research involves a study of the basic mechanisms of apoptosis in proximal tubular epithelial cells exposed to albumin to mimic the effect of proteinuric disorders in general.

Additionally, a cutting-edge research study is being done on trafficking of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR) as it relates to chloride transport in renal epithelial cells. Another important study is investigating trafficking of nephrin in the glomerular basement membrane, an important structural protein that normally protects against proteinuria and nephrotic syndrome.


Clinical Studies

Chronic Kidney Disease & Hyperkalemia Treatment with Patiromer: The EMERALD Study – Phase II

Study to Evaluate the Pharmacodynamic Effects, Safety, and Tolerability of Patiromer for Oral Suspension in Children and Adolescents 2 to

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Chronic Kidney Disease & Hyperparathyroidism Treatment with Hectorol – Phase III

Study to Assess the Safety and Efficacy of Hectorol® (doxercalciferol capsules) in Pediatric Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease Stages 3 and 4 with Secondary Hyperparathyroidism Not Yet on Dialysis

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FSGS & the Effects of LDL Apheresis

Effect of LDL-Apheresis on Cardiovascular and Renal Outcomes in Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis

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FSGS and Identification of the APOL1 Genetic Mutation

A Study of the Prevalence of Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) Alleles Among Individuals With Proteinuric Kidney Disease Who Are of Recent African Ancestry or Geographic Origin

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FSGS Therapy Using Sparsentan – Phase III

The Effects of Sparsentan, a Dual Endothelin Receptor and Angiotensin Receptor Blocker, on Renal Outcomes in Patients with Primary Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis

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FSGS Treatment with VX-147 – Phase IIa

A 2-Part Study to Evaluate the Efficacy, Safety, and Pharmacokinetics of VX‐147 in Adults with APOL1-mediated Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis

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Hyperoxaluria Treatment with DCR-PHXC – Phase II

Study to Evaluate the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of DCR-PHXC Solution for Injection in Patients with Primary Hyperoxaluria

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Kidney Transplant Rejection Study Using Novel Blood Test

Utilization of dd-cfDNA to Assess for Rejection

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Additional Researchers

Rannar Airik, PhD
Sunder Sims-Lucas, PhD