Harnessing personalised healthcare to identify novel therapeutic targets for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients


Maria Chiara Magnone and Matthew Coghlan

Each November, more than 13,000 leading nephrologists and other medical and scientific professionals from around the world present and discuss the latest advances and challenges in kidney research and treatment at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week. This year, with a steadily growing presence, AstraZeneca is presenting five abstracts from our early science research teams alone that unveil new evidence for novel, potential chronic kidney disease (CKD) drug targets that leverage our personalised healthcare approach.

Personalised healthcare identifying novel therapeutic targets in CKD

Personalised Healthcare (PHC) is transforming medical science; it allows us to deliver the right treatment to the right patient, at the right time and value. We are at an inflection point where technology, data and the empowered patient are converging to enable this transformation. This idea is being carried throughout Kidney Week 2016, where the meeting’s theme is Reinventing Nephrology: From Molecule to Man.

In addition to presenting data on our late-stage pipeline at the meeting, we are thrilled to share with delegates our exciting results around reinventing nephrology from a molecular and biological standpoint through personalised healthcare. At AstraZeneca, personalised healthcare is about matching medicines to the patients most likely to benefit from them. By using biomarkers to increase our understanding of patients and disease, we can identify targets more quickly and design our trials better, enabling us to develop powerful treatments faster. Personalised healthcare could have the potential to modify or reverse the progression of CKD, an area which has seen a lack of novel treatment options.

Innovative consortium unites academia and industry partners to identify novel drug targets

At AstraZeneca we are committed to strengthening collaboration between industry and academia to advance our understanding of disease. Our early science research teams have joined the Renal Pre-Competitive Consortium (RPC2). RPC2 is a unique industry-academia collaboration focusing on the use of personalised healthcare to understand molecular pathways, targets and networks in CKD with diabetes complications; integrate clinical and histopathological data with large scale genomic data; and to openly share data with other consortium partners1.

The results of the first consortium project are being presented at Kidney Week 2016. By analysing gene expression, the collaborative research team reports an association between specific cells in the kidney, called mesangial cells, and impaired kidney function in CKD2. Previous research has shown these cells play a critical role in the initiation and progression of injury to the nephron, the structural and functional component of the kidney, called glomerular disease. The results contribute important scientific evidence about the function of mesangial cells to our understanding of the disease and suggest these cells may be a novel treatment target for drug development.

Read more about the study methodology and results

Collaborating to Enrich our CKD Strategy

As an area of focus within AstraZeneca’s cardiovascular and metabolic disease (CVMD) therapy area, our goal in CKD is to address unmet needs in disease prevention, treatment and management – and to follow the science, which could ultimately modify the disease itself or even halt its progression. To achieve this, we are investigating innovative therapies that address both the complications of CKD and the underlying causes.

We are also embarking on innovative partnerships with organisations such the RPC2, the Centre of Excellence for the Prevention of Organ Failure (PROOF), the Canadian Study of Prediction of Death, Dialysis and Interim Cardiovascular Events (CanPREDICT), the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and the University of Michigan to improve global understanding of CKD pathology, discover novel drug targets linked to disease progression and initiate new approaches to personalised healthcare in CKD.

Utilising our expertise in cardiovascular disease and diabetes, we are exploring new treatment options to help manage the multiple risk factors and comorbid conditions facing CKD patients to deliver a more profound and lasting impact to their lives. The early stage research we are presenting at Kidney Week 2016   demonstrate AstraZeneca’s commitment to becoming a scientific leader in CKD. These studies are laying the groundwork for the development of much-needed new therapies that use personalised healthcare to specifically target the underlying biological factors that contribute to CKD progression and more effectively treat patients.

Find out more about AstraZeneca’s work in CVMD

Find out more about personalised healthcare in AstraZeneca



  1. Bridging the translational gap for molecular target identification in renal disease: the Renal Pre-Competitive Consortium (RPC2). Abstract. ASN Kidney Week 2016.
  2. Human Mesangial Enriched Transcription in Health and Glomerular Disease. Abstract. ASN Kidney Week 2016.

Page ATLAS ID: 1020742.011
Date of next review: November 2017