A research team led by Prof. Hirofumi Kai from Kumamoto University in Japan has been awarded an international research grant from the Alport Syndrome Foundation, an organization based in the U.S.
The Alport Syndrome Research Funding Program was established in 2010 and has selected one or two projects a year to receive funding. This year, two projects were selected out of 10 applications worldwide.
Kai’s research proposal, “Search for therapeutic reagents by modeling Alport syndrome in mice and humans,” will be awarded a $50,000 annual grant for the next two years.
This marks the first time the Alport Syndrome Foundation has awarded funding to a Japanese research group. In previous research on inhibiting the development of Alport syndrome, Kai and his team investigated the point at which symptoms began surfacing and progressing.
Their findings were published in January in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. The article was titled “Podocyte p53 Limits the Severity of Experimental Alport Syndrome” and was authored by Kai and his team.
The study was deemed so significant that photos from the article were featured on that issue’s cover, according to the press release.
In 2013, Kumamoto University was selected by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for a new “Program for Promoting the Enhancement of Research Universities.” Since then, it has strengthened its international collaborative research programs to gain a competitive edge. These collaborations at Kumamoto are expected to lead to even further developments in the next few years, with increasing overseas grant acquisitions.
Alport syndrome is a progressive, hereditary kidney disease with high risk for kidney failure which often requires dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant. People diagnosed with Alport may not have symptoms early in life, but they will eventually emerge at some point during their lifetime.
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