October 10, 2017  Print

A WIMR researcher has been awarded a prestigious scholarship to support vital kidney research, offering new hope for 50,000 people in Western Sydney suffering from kidney disease.

Dr Titi Chen was awarded the 2017 RACP Jacquot NHMRC Award for Excellence Scholarship for her research into cellular development of chronic kidney disease.

The scholarship grants Dr Chen $40,000 to examine the central role of dendritic cells in the development and progression of the disease.

Dr Chen said that it is important to understand the cellular functions of chronic kidney disease before specific and targeted treatments can be developed.

“Studying novel treatments in an animal model will help us to understand the relationship between dendritic cells and chronic kidney disease.

“Once we understand this relationship and can define the dendritic cells, we can then investigate therapeutic strategies which we hope will lead to targeted treatment for the disease.

“This is important, because there is currently no targeted treatment for chronic kidney disease and the cost on the health care system is enormous,” Dr Chen said.

Chronic kidney disease costs the Australian health care system approximately $8 billion a year and is one of Australia’s leading causes of death.

In 2016, Western Sydney was identified as a hot spot for kidney disease, with 1 in 6 people showing signs of chronic kidney disease.

Dr Titi Chen is a PhD student with the University of Sydney and is supervised by Professor David Harris and Dr Natasha Rogers.