The UK Renal Research Strategy recognised the need for a kidney biobank. Kidney Research UK has led the collaboration with industry and academia to launch NURTuRE (the National Unified Renal Translational Research Enterprise), the first kidney biobank covering England, Scotland and Wales.

NURTuRE  provides a unique resource to support important new research designed to benefits those living with kidney disease, with the first two patient groups focusing on chronic kidney disease (CKD) and idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (INS). In particular, NURTURE supports studies looking at a range of key research areas including:

  • Identifying pathways of injury and repair
  • Investigating new targets for treatments
  • Looking at what might lead to different responses to treatments
  • Looking at new ways of measuring and monitoring the body’s progression through different stages of kidney disease, and response to treatment (known as ‘biomarkers’)
  • Promoting collaboration between research groups to benefit patients

“NURTuRE offers a unique opportunity for researchers from universities, the NHS, pharmaceuticals companies and the patient community to work together to improve treatment and diagnosis of kidney disease. Kidney Research UK are proud to be a founding member of NURTuRE and we look forward to the first results from NURTuRE studies in 2023.” Michael Nation, Director of NURTuRE at Kidney Research UK

What information is in NURTuRE?

During the first phases of the NURTuRE programme, scientists collected and securely stored biological samples from 3,000 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and at least 800 patients with idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (INS), providing a unique resource for vital research. This type of collection of samples for research is known as a ‘biobank’. In addition to samples of plasma, serum, urine, DNA and tissue, NURTuRE will link to clinical (healthcare) data, through the UK Renal Registry.

Biomarker analysis takes place at the University of Geneva, tissue analysis and storage at the University of Birmingham, and blood, urine and serum samples are stored at the UK national biosample centre at Milton Keynes.

Running over a five-year period, the samples will be obtained through 18 NHS Trusts, with patients followed up at specific intervals.

From late 2023, researchers and industry will be able to apply for access to the samples and data. Once an application has been approved, and the relevant agreements signed, samples matching selection criteria, together with relevant clinical data, if applicable, will be prepared and dispatched.

By securely combining information from many individuals, researchers will be able to look for important clues on why kidney disease progresses differently in each person, and the best ways to diagnose and manage each patient.

“The de-identified data contained within the NURTuRE biobank has the potential to unlock answers to some of the biggest questions about CKD and NS. Looking at biological samples alongside clinical data will help us to develop new markers to help identify patients who will benefit from better, earlier diagnosis and person-specific new treatments, leading to better health outcomes.” Elaine Davies, Director of research operations at Kidney Research UK

What happens to NURTuRE samples?

Watch our short video to see what happens to a patient’s samples once they’ve been donated to the NURTuRE project:

Video animated developed with Prawnimation.

How can I get involved with NURTuRE?

Patients are central to everything that we do with NURTuRE. From roles on our advisory board, to ambassadors, to sample donation, we need you.

“I was more than happy to help and the whole process has been so simple. They just took blood and urine samples, did some height and weight measurements, tested my memory skills and asked me a few other questions. It was all done during a routine appointment, and they repeat the process in a year or so’s time. I’ve never been part of a research study before but, if my involvement can help other people like me, then that would be fantastic.” Skevvy Piponides, one of the first patients to get involved with NURTuRE

From late 2023 researchers will be able to apply for access to samples and data from our first two cohorts (CKD and INS).

Who funds NURTuRE?

The overall NURTuRE biobank programme is funded through a unique partnership between industry, grant giving bodies and Kidney Research UK.

The first two NURTuRE cohorts and associated analysis activity are funded by AbbVie Inc, AstraZeneca, Evotec AV, Travere Therapeutics, UCB Celltech Biopharma and Kidney Research UK.

The project is being jointly delivered through the University of Bristol, led by Professor Moin Saleem, Professor of Paediatric Renal Medicine, supported by Liz Colby as co-ordinator for the NURTuRE-INS (Nephros) study; and the University of Nottingham, led by Professor Maarten Taal, Professor of Medicine, supported by Melissa Benavente, co-ordinator of the NURTuRE-CKD study.

The programme is being led by Kidney Research UK working closely with the UK’s leading research and clinical centres, alongside patient advisors.