A research group from Kumamoto University, Japan has been awarded an international research grant from the U.S.-based Alport Syndrome Foundation. This marks the first time the foundation has awarded funding to a Japanese research group.
Alport syndrome (AS) is a progressive genetic kidney disease with high risk for kidney failure and often requires dialysis treatment or kidney transplant. For those with the disease, symptoms may not appear soon after birth but they usually emerge at some point during their lifetime. In previous research working toward inhibiting the development of AS, Professor Hirofumi Kai and his team at Kumamoto University focused on the point at which symptoms began progressing. Their findings were published in the Jan. 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, one of the top journals for kidney studies, and photos from the study were featured on the cover.
The Alport Syndrome Research Funding Program began in 2010 and has selected between one to two projects each year for funding. This year, two projects were selected for the award out of ten applications from around the world. Professor Kai's winning research proposal is entitled, "Search for therapeutic reagents by modeling Alport syndrome in mice and humans" and will receive 50,000 USD per year for the next two years.
In 2013, Kumamoto University was selected by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for "The Program for Promoting the Enhancement of Research Universities" and has since been strengthening its international collaborative research programs. These collaborations at Kumamoto University are expected to develop even further in the coming years with increasing overseas grant acquisitions.
Visit the Alport Syndrome Foundation website to learn more about Alport syndrome, the research program, and this year's funding recipients. http://alportsyndrome.org/research/asf-research-program/
J. Sanderson, N. Fukuda