Mar 2, 2023
A study published in Nature Communications as revealed new insights into how sugar intake could contribute to the development of polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a common condition that affects over 500,000 individuals in the United States. PKD is characterized by the growth of fluid-filled cysts that can obstruct kidney function and ultimately result in organ failure.
To understand the effects of fluid movement within the kidney on PKD, researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine used organoids, which are mini-kidney structures that mimic the response of human kidneys to infections and treatments. They discovered that the swelling process of PKD cysts in the organoids involved the absorption of fluid, with intake occurring inwardly through the cells from outside the cyst. The researchers also found that blocking sugar uptake in the fluid flow prevented cyst growth.
The researchers developed a novel method of studying the effects of sugar on PKD by integrating a kidney organoid with a microfluidic chip, which enabled the flow of a solution containing water, sugar, amino acids, and other essential nutrients over genetically-engineered organoids that simulated PKD. This allowed the scientists to observe the cells that line the walls of the PKD cysts positioned externally, reversing the configuration observed in actual kidneys.
Dr. Benjamin S. Freedman, the lead author of the study, highlighted the implications of the research for patients and the public, stating that sugar uptake could be a target for PKD therapy. He noted that several drugs affecting sugar uptake have recently been developed for other conditions, and that these could be considered for PKD treatment as well. However, further research is needed to determine their effects on cysts that are more proximal or distal.
"We discovered that PKD cysts in mini-kidney structures, when subjected to large volumes of fluid flow, rapidly swell and expand. This turned out to be due to uptake of sugars (glucose) in the fluid by cysts, which was accompanied by water. Blocking sugar uptake also blocked cyst growth. Altogether this suggests an important role for sugar uptake in polycystic kidney disease, which was not previously appreciated." -Benjamin S. Freedman
Dr. Pierre Antoine Brown, an associate professor and medical director of the hemodialysis program and polycystic kidney disease clinic at Ottawa Hospital noted that the use of the organoid-on-chip model may accelerate research on PKD, as it provides researchers with a model that closely approximates what happens in a human kidney affected by PKD. The discovery that blocking glucose transport inside the kidney tubular cells blocks cyst growth could have a major impact in the future as it may become a new area for treatment of PKD.
"The use of the organoid-on-chip model may accelerate research on polycystic kidney diseases as it provides researches with a model that seems to more closely approximate what happens in a human kidney affected by PKD, and cysts can be directly observed and measured, something that is not possible in other methods such as an animal model. Second, the discovery that blocking glucose transport inside the kidney tubular cells blocks cyst growth could have a major impact in the future as it may become a new area for treatment of PKD." - Dr. Pierre Antoine Brown
The study provides a new perspective on the role of sugar in PKD cyst formation, and although further research is needed to fully understand how PKD affects sugar uptake, the discovery of sugar's role in PKD cyst growth could lead to new therapies for a condition that can ultimately result in organ failure.
Rich Foreman brings over 30 years of technology leadership to his role of CEO and Co-Founder of KidneySoft. As founding CTO, Rich led the team that developed the CordicoShield / CordicoFire Wellness App. Cordico was honored with the Sacramento Innovation Award in 2021. After achieving a 7 digit ARR, Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020. Rich has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington, an MPA from Troy State University and was an officer in the U.S. Navy. Rich co-authored his book, "Tap into the Mobile Economy." Rich's blog was listed in Top 20 Marketing Mobile Blogs of 2014. He has been featured on KCRA3, NEWS10, 1170 Tech AM PowerDrive, Business Radio Money 105.5, SiliconIndia, the Sacramento Business Journal, and the Sacramento Bee. Rich is also the Founding Director of the Sacramento Chapter of Startup Grind and served a term as Utility Commissioner for the City of Folsom. Rich is a regular contributor to TechWire.net and StartupSac. Rich was the Co-founder of Apptology which was named Small Business of the Year in 2014 by the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber. He was also the Founding Chief Technology Officer at Cordico. Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020. Rich also served 4 years as a Naval Officer in the Civil Engineer Corps.
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