NURTuRE Launch News Release

Launch of unique kidney biobank

Weds 14 June 2017

Kidney Research UK, the UK charity dedicated to funding research into kidney disease, has launched the first kidney biobank covering England, Scotland and Wales. The biobank has been named NURTuRE (the National Unified Renal Translational Research Enterprise). Developed in the first instance to collect and store biological samples from 3,000 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and at least 800 patients with nephrotic syndrome (NS), the biobank will provide a strategic resource for fundamental and translational research. In addition to the samples of plasma, serum, urine, DNA and tissue that will be stored, the repository will also have the considerable advantage of containing associated linked clinical data, through the UK Renal Registry.

Running over a five-year period, the samples will be obtained through 14 NHS Trusts, with patients followed up at specific intervals. From mid-2018, all researchers will be able to apply for access to samples stored in the biobank for future studies.

“The UK Renal Research Strategy launched last year recognised the need for a kidney biobank and Kidney Research UK has led the collaboration to deliver this key resource for the renal research community,” said Elaine Davies, Director of Research Operations at Kidney Research UK. “Operating to a standardised protocol, this resource opens up a wealth of new opportunities for researchers and industry to accelerate new advances that will benefit kidney patients and their treatment and care.

“The anonymised data contained within the NURTuRE biobank has the potential to unlock answers to some of the biggest questions about CKD and NS.

“Ultimately, the cross analysis of biological samples alongside clinical data will enable us to develop new biomarkers. This will then lead to a greater ability to identify patients who will benefit from better, earlier diagnosis and person-specific new treatments, leading to better health outcomes.”

World-leading UK and European experts, together with pharmaceutical industry partners and the UK Renal Registry, have formed the collaboration to deliver this high quality resource. The ability to link biological data and clinical data is hugely powerful, and unique to the UK.

The biobank is funded by AbbVie Inc, Evotec, UCB and Kidney Research UK. Experts from the University of Bristol and the University of Nottingham form the core academic team overseeing all operational delivery. Biomarker analysis will take place at the University of Geneva and histopathological (tissue) analysis at the University of Birmingham.

Professor Maarten Taal (Project Investigator, CKD cohort, Professor of Medicine at the University of Nottingham) and Professor Moin Saleem (Project Investigator, NS cohort, Professor of Paediatric Renal Medicine at the University of Bristol) were available to take questions about the NURTuRE biobank during the UK Kidney Week conference which took place in Liverpool 19-21 June 2017.

Notes to Editors

  • NURTuRE Biobank website –
  • Moderate to severe chronic kidney disease is thought to affect around three million people in the UK. Dubbed ‘the silent killer’ kidney disease often has no symptoms and up to one million of these people have not been diagnosed and are unaware they have the condition.
  • Around 10,000 people in the UK are affected by nephrotic syndrome each year. The condition causes the kidneys to leak large amounts of protein into the urine, which can lead to a range of problems including swelling of body tissues and a greater chance of catching infections. People of any age can be affected, but it is usually first diagnosed in children aged between two and five years.
  • The UK Renal Registry (UKRR) is part of the Renal Association. It is recognised as one of the very few high quality clinical databases open to requests from researchers. The UKRR collects, analyses and reports on data from 71 adult and 13 paediatric renal centres. More information is available at:
  • Kidney Research UK is the kidney research charity committed to developing treatments, patient information and raising vital public awareness to help save lives. More information is available here:
  • In 2016, Kidney Research UK led the launch of the UK Renal Research Strategy, which outlines aims and recommendations to improve the health and welfare of kidney patients through impactful kidney research. More information is available here:
  • For press enquiries,  please contact Rosie Loft or Sarah Williams at Kidney Research UK on:
  • 07733 103830 (out of hours)
  • 01733 367860