Nearly $2 million (£1.5m) has been granted to help researchers explore how to prevent kidney damage in those with type 2 diabetes.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded the money to the LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center in the US.
The grant will fund four years of work into preventing kidney disease and understanding the mechanisms in full behind its development in people with type 2 diabetes.
Dr Krisztian Stadler, director of the centre’s Oxidative Stress and Disease Laboratory, and colleagues will specifically investigate the role of tubular epithelial cells in the kidneys.
Kidney tubular cells do not work properly in people with type 2 diabetes because there is a lack of the molecule adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP), normally produced by efficient fat burning.
Without enough of this molecule, the cells can become injured or even die, leading to kidney disease.
Dr Stadler said: “Our hope is that by understanding these mechanisms, future interventions can be designed not only to treat but to prevent tubular cell injury and kidney failure.
“Our projects focus on discovering the mechanisms that lead to the death of proximal tubular epithelial cells.”
Kidney disease is a complication of obesity and type 2 diabetes which develops when small blood vessels become damaged. This can occur following long-term high blood glucose levels.
However, people with diabetes can delay or prevent diabetic nephropathy by maintaining good control of blood sugar levels and blood pressure, as well as attending annual health checks so doctors can check for any early signs of kidney disease and take action to limit its progression.

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