(Vienna, 22 September 2016) The Medical University of Vienna is playing a leading role in a global research network for kidney diseases that is using modern "omics" methods (proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics) and bioinformatics to investigate frequent complications of diabetes and hypertension: chronic kidney diseases. The IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative) project, which comes under the umbrella of Horizon 2020, started on Thursday (22 September) with a pre-kick-off meeting at MedUni Vienna. It goes by the name of BEatDKD and is being jointly funded by the European Union and the largest international pharmaceutical companies, to the tune of 15 million euros each.
Even Work Package I alone, which is being managed by MedUni Vienna under the direction of Rainer Oberbauer, Head of the Division of Nephrology and Dialysis at the Department of Medicine III, has funding of around one million euros.
In Europe, approximately 50 million people, that is to say 10% of the population, suffer from a chronic kidney condition. Every effort is made to prevent the late stage, which requires dialysis or even a kidney transplant. However, kidney insufficiency does not only affect the function of the organ itself but can also have a negative impact upon the cardiovascular system and bone metabolism – resulting in an elevated risk of heart attack and osteoporosis. Patients with diabetes and hypertension are particularly at risk.
BEatDKD (Biomarker Enterprise to Attack DKD) is an interdisciplinary research project: doctors, statisticians, epidemiologists, molecular biologists and bioinformaticians from university departments, research institutes and biotech companies will all work on it together. The Consortium comprises 19 research groups from 11 countries: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Spain and the USA. The project will run for 5 years, until 1 October 2021.
At the same time, BEatDKD is a follow-on from the EU project "Syskid", which ran very successfully between 2011 and 2016 and had a similar scientific focus.