Joshua M. Thurman, M.D.

NEPTUNE Ancillary Studies Grant Awardee

Dr. Joshua Thurman at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus has been selected to receive the inaugural NKI-Neptune Ancillary Studies Grant: a grant program that supports investigator-initiated studies that employ NEPTUNE resources to advance research in glomerular disease. By looking for novel markers of inflammation in patients with FSGS, Dr. Thurman plans to investigate whether novel markers of inflammation in patients with FSGS can be identified.

Aurora, Colorado

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Lay Summary of the Project:

Most of the drugs currently used to treat FSGS work by blocking the body’s immune system, but these treatments do not work in all patients. At the moment, it is completely unclear how the immune system causes kidney damage in FSGS or how to identify those patients most likely to respond to immunosuppressive treatment. Dr. Thurman believes that in some patients with FSGS there are antibodies (an important part of the immune system) that bind to the kidney and damage it, and the treatments that block the immune system work because they may reduce this antibody. Through animal model studies, his laboratory has discovered that one type of antibody, IgM, binds to kidney cells and injures them. They have also developed methods for detecting this antibody in the bloodstream. His project will use blood samples that have previously been collected from patients with FSGS as part of the Neptune study, and they will be tested whether the disease-associated IgM can be detected in patients with FSGS. They will also test whether the presence of IgM is associated with other signs of inflammation. The results of this research may aid in the development of methods for identifying patients who will benefit from treatment with immunosuppressive drugs, and also novel therapies for blocking inflammation in these patients.


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