Ongoing research and quality initiatives offer tangible improvements in clinical outcomes.

Nephrology is strongly committed to improvement through research and innovation. Our record is excellent and has a bright future with increased emphasis on translational research, with a well-equipped lab, the Priscilla Kincaid-Smith Renal Research Laboratories.

Our key translational research programme addresses the mechanisms of progressive renal failure and vascular ageing and ways that these may be abrogated. Laboratory research activities are integrated with basic and clinical researchers, and clinical services, both internally and externally. The focus of much of this work is the role of mineral balance and inflammation in vascular calcification.

We have recently reported on a novel vascular circulating factor, fetuin calciprotein particles which are found in the circulation of patients with inflammation and /or renal impairment and may be a key link the vascular calcification seen in renal failure and inflammatory diseases, through interaction with multiple cell types eg macrophage or vascular smooth muscle cells.

The number of PhD and MD students and researchers is increasing, with grant income in excess of $5 million.

We are a major Australian and world centre for conducting clinical trials of new drugs in transplantation, prevention of complications post-transplantation, treatment of renal anaemia and diabetic nephropathy, and prevention of cardio-vascular events in chronic kidney disease. We have an impressive record of attracting and recruiting to pharmaceutical company sponsored trials.

We are consistently amongst the best and sometimes only Australian centre in recruiting in a number of trials, we are sought out as a site for research but only due to our critical expert mass.

Within a broad nephrology service, the RMH Renal Services has developed unique expertise in rare diseases affecting the kidney. All Victorian patients with Fabry disease are referred to the RMH and many interstate patients have also sought consultation here. Liaison with the Australian Lifesaving Drug Program enables patients with this rare disease to access specific therapy.

Collaboration and liaison with other centres of expertise around the world is enabling state-of-the-art diagnosis, and potential access to new therapies, for patients with other rare diseases such as nephrogenic diabetes insipidus and amyloidosis. Recent expertise in tuberous sclerosis, where breakthrough medication can now be supplied, is now available at RMH Kidney care which complements expertise in Neurology in this area.

Optimal management of patients with rare diseases requires a centre of excellence with extensive personal experience and links with international centres.

We are able to offer expertise in research diagnostics including:

  • Fetuin and Fetuin Calciprotein particles (Fetuin Mineral complexes)
  • iFGF-23
  • cFGF23
  • Facilities available in our lab include
  • Robotic ELISA Technology
  • Western blotting
  • Cell Culture
  • All histological methods
  • RTqPCR

Major research related activities and initiatives include:

  • Higher Degree Student and Fellow Supervision (University of Melbourne, Monash University)
  • Participation in major national and international committees and working parties (ANZSN, KDIGO, AKTN, KHA, ATS, WHO, RACP (SAC involvement), KHA-CARI Guidelines)
  • Numerous investigator initiated research studies

Recent achievements

  • One PhD completion (2012) and two PhD submissions (2013)
  • External project grant funding from NHMRC and specialist grant programmes. Grants to RMH consultants exceeded $5 Million in the last 2 years much of which has come or will come to RMH
  • Biomedical scholarship support from NHMRC, Jacquot Foundation and Kidney Health Australia
  • Frequent invited presentations at major international conferences
  • Redevelopment of laboratory infrastructure through external funding

Funding

We are most grateful to our sponsors and those who have donated money to further our ongoing and exciting research efforts.

We sincerely thank the following following organisations:

  • NHMRC
  • Jacquot Foundation
  • RMH Foundation
  • Kidney Health Australia
  • The Priscilla Kinkaid-Smith Fund
  • Amgen Australia Pty
  • Baxter Pty

We would also like thank the following individuals who have kindly donated money for research into renal disease:

  • Michael Young & Kendall Billington
  • Mrs LE Humphreys
  • Russell and Znadra Whitehead
  • Mrs & Mrs Dickinson
  • Ms Merle Zealley
  • Estate of Isabella Agnes Pritchard
  • Ankine Horvath