The University of Birmingham is to work with charity Kidney Research UK to provide tissue analysis for the first kidney biobank covering England, Scotland and Wales being launched today.

The biobank has been named NURTuRE (the National Unified Renal Translational Research Enterprise). Developed to collect and store biological samples from 3,000 patients with chronic kidney disease and up to 800 patients with nephrotic syndrome, the biobank will provide a strategic resource for fundamental and translational research.

In addition to the samples of plasma, serum, urine, DNA and tissue that will be stored, the repository will also have the considerable advantage of containing associated linked clinical data, through the UK Renal Registry.

Running over a five-year period, the samples will be obtained through 13 NHS Trusts, with patients followed up at specific intervals. From mid-2018, all researchers will be able to apply for access to samples stored in the biobank for future studies.

Experts from the University of Bristol and the University of Nottingham form the core academic team overseeing all operational delivery of the biobank, which is funded by AbbVie Inc, Evotec AV, UCB Celltech Biopharma and Kidney Research UK.

Meanwhile, histopathological (tissue) analysis will take place at the University of Birmingham, while biomarker analysis will take place at the University of Geneva.

Dr Jane Steele, Director of the Advanced Therapies Facility at the University of Birmingham, said: “We are very proud to be part of a collaboration of world-leading UK and European experts working together with pharmaceutical industry partners and the UK Renal Registry to deliver this high quality resource for the renal research community.

“Operating to a standardised protocol, this resource opens up a wealth of new opportunities for researchers and industry to accelerate new advances that will benefit kidney patients and their treatment and care.

“The anonymised data contained within the NURTuRE biobank has the potential to unlock answers to some of the biggest questions about CKD and NS.“

Elaine Davies, Director of Research Operations at Kidney Research UK said: “Ultimately, the cross analysis of biological samples alongside clinical data will enable us to develop new biomarkers.

“This will then lead to a greater ability to identify patients who will benefit from better, earlier diagnosis and person-specific new treatments, leading to better health outcomes.”

For further information or interviews contact:

1. Emma McKinney, Press Office, University of Birmingham, at +44(0)121 414 6681.

2. Rosie Loft or Sarah Williams, Kidney Research UK at +44(0)1733 367860 or Press Office.

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Moderate to severe chronic kidney disease is thought to affect around three million people in the UK.
  • Dubbed ‘the silent killer’ kidney disease often has no symptoms and up to one million of these people have not been diagnosed and are unaware they have the condition.
  • Around 10,000 people in the UK are affected by Nephrotic Syndrome each year. The condition causes the kidneys to lead large amounts of protein into the urine, which can lead to a range or problems including dwelling of body tissues and a greater chance of catching infections. People of any age can be affected, but it is usually first diagnosed in children aged between two and five years.
  • The UK Renal Registry (UKRR) is part of the Renal Association. It is recognised as one of the very few high quality clinical databases open to requests from researchers. The UKRR collects, analyses and reports on data from 71 adult and 13 paediatric renal centres. For more information.
  • Kidney Research UK is the kidney research charity committed to developing treatments, patient information and raising vital public awareness to help save lives. For more information.
  • Recommendations to improve the health and welfare of kidney patients