Scientists discover kidneys’ true age

Ross Mathers

Scientists at Glasgow University have made significant discoveries that could help patients awaiting kidney transplants.

The research, carried out at the Western Infirmary, has shown that the ‘bio-age’ of a kidney is more important than its actual chronological age when judging its suitability for transplant.

This information will allow doctors to calculate the performance and health of a  transplanted kidney and make more informed decisions as to suitability for transplant.

It was also found that a simple blood test of an older person can determine the ‘bio-age’ of their kidney.

With over 3,000 organ transplants taking place last year in the UK and thousands more on the waiting lists, it is hoped that the information can be applied to other organs.

Dr. Paul Shiels, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Surgery at Glasgow University confirmed the significance of the discovery.
He said: “This latest research offers promising prospects for doctors when it comes to assessing which organs are suitable for transplantation and how they might perform post-transplant.

“It could mean that complications in some patients could be avoided through the selection of more suitable organs.”

It was the levels of the gene cyclin-dependent kinase 2a (CDKN2a) in kidneys that the researchers found determined the biological age of the kidneys.

The research was funded jointly by the Cunninghame Trust and Darlinda’s Charity for Renal Research.

Dr. Shiels also emphasised the importance of the recent research for Glasgow University.

He explained: “The project demonstrates the quality of research being conducted at the University of Glasgow which is working at the forefront of medical science

“The benefits our students derive from being part of a research-led university are incalculable.”


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