Researchers from the United States, Italy, and China have joined together to unravel the mysteries of IgA nephropathy, a disease that is the leading cause of kidney failure in Asia and Southern Europe. Scientists studying a group of IgA nephropathy patients of Chinese and European heritage uncovered five regions of the human genome associated with the disease. Now they want to find out if these genetic differences occur in other populations affected by the disorder. And they hope to discover why some patients experience a benign form of the disease and others progress to kidney failure. These findings may also pave the way for improved diagnosis with genetic testing, eliminating the need for today’s invasive kidney biopsies.
NIH Study Finds Genetic Clues to Major Cause of Kidney Disease Worldwide, National Institutes of Health, April 4, 2011