The LifeCycle Foundation has made a € 25,000 grant to the University for research on kidney cysts. Researchers will conduct a survey on the genetics of this condition which is inherited in families and leads to serious kidney disease.
It is estimated that one in 400 people on the island is afflicted with the condition known as polycystic kidney disease.
Advisor and Head of the Renal Unit at Mater Dei Hospital, Professor Emanuel Farrugia, explained that this condition is often inherited within families. It develops nodules or cysts kidneys which eventually result in the kidneys expanding and losing their function.
To date there is no cure for it and people end up having to undergo dialysis or kidney transplant. Professor Jean Calleja Agius explained that a team of researchers, will screen people who have this condition in the family to find out what is the genetic defect.
They will give advice to these people, even to couples wanting to have children. He explained that this research was also crucial in the case of relatives who wanted to donate organs to each another.
“If I come to donation one of my kidneys, if I do not know if I am a carrier or not there is a risk that that I get this disease and I will be already be one kidney short. Secondly if I gave that kidney to my brother for example I have a brother and carrier will issue him anyway. ”
University Rector, Professor Alfred Vella talked about the challenge for the University to be not just as a place of learning but also as a place where research tis carried out, which requires a lot of funding. He welcomed what he described as a philanthropic act for research by the Lifecycle Foundation who since 1999 has organised an annual cycling challenge in different countries to raise funds and help patients suffering from kidney problems in terms of awareness, treatment and even research.