The RMH Kidney Care service is strongly committed to improvement through research and innovation. We have shown that ongoing research and quality initiatives lead to tangible improvements in clinical outcomes.
About our research
Our laboratory research activities integrate basic and clinical research with clinical services, both internally and externally. Through this commitment we have maintained well-developed infrastructure and support mechanisms for established and novice investigators.
A strength of our research program is that we are able to integrate basic science, translational science, and clinical trials to achieve improved health outcomes for people with kidney disease.
Improvement through research and innovation
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 program addresses the mechanisms of progressive kidney disease 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 kidney impairment and may be a key link the vascular calcification seen in kidney failure and inflammatory diseases, through interaction with multiple cell types – for example, 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.
Major Australian and word centre for clinical trials
We are a major Australian and world centre for conducting clinical trials of new drugs in:
- Kidney transplantation
- Prevention of complications post-transplantation
- Treatment of renal anaemia and diabetic nephropathy
- Prevention of cardiovascular events in chronic kidney disease
We have an impressive record of attracting and recruiting to pharmaceutical company sponsored trials.
We are consistently among the best – and sometimes the only – Australian centre in recruiting in trials. We are sought out as a site for research but only due to our critical expert mass.
Within a broader nephrology service, our team 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.
Research diagnostics expertise
- Fetuin and fetuin calciprotein particles (fetuin mineral complexes)
- Robotic ELISA technology
- Western blotting
- Cell culture
- All histological methods
Nephrology is involved in numerous trials. Many of these are commercially sponsored and some are investigator initiated.
We feel it is important to give our patients access to best cutting-edge mediations and techniques only available in clinical trials. The RMH is often among the highest recruiting or sometimes the only recruiting centre in Australia.
We have a group of dedicated trials coordinators to ensure that we conduct trials efficiently and that we support our patients who agree to go into clinical trials.
The manager of the Nephrology Clinical Trials group is responsible for all aspects of clinical research from project feasibility through to Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) and local governance approval.
The manager is always available to provide advice and assistance on setting up and running clinical research projects and is the first point of contact for studies requiring submission to the ethics committee.
Contact us to find out more about our clinical trials.
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
Find out more about our research achievements in our Nephrology Research Report
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 organisations:
- Jacquot Foundation
- The RMH Foundation
- Kidney Health Australia
- The Priscilla Kincaid-Smith Fund
We would also like thank the following people who have kindly donated money for research into kidney disease:
- Michael Young and Kendall Billington
- Mrs L E Humphreys
- Russell and Zandra Whitehead
- Mrs and Mrs Dickinson
- Ms Merle Zealley
- Estate of Isabella Agnes Pritchard
- Ankine Horvath
- John Perrett
- Katy Honig
A Metabolic Reprogramming of Glycolysis and Glutamine Metabolism Is a Requisite for Renal Fibrogenesis-Why and How?
Hewitson, TD; Smith, ER
(2021), Front. Physiol.
A novel way to re-use reverse osmosis reject water
Agar, JWM; Barraclough, KA
(2021), J. Nephrol., 27-28
A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on Effects of Bicarbonate Therapy on Kidney Outcomes
Hultin, S; Hood, C; Campbell, KL; Toussaint, ND; Johnson, DW; Badve, SV
(2021), Kidney Int. Rep., 695-705
We need clinical trials to prove that new treatments are safe and effective for people to use. They are essential to the discovery of new medications and devices, neither of which can be approved for use in Australia without clinical trials.