Researcher gets funding for tool to detect kidney disease

Shama Mirza, director of UWM’s Shimadzu Laboratory for Advanced and Applied Analytical Chemistry, has received a $230,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a rapid and noninvasive urinary test for the detection of a particular childhood kidney disease.

The disease, obstructive uropathy, strikes newborns and infants blocking the flow of urine to the bladder. But since it usually affects only one kidney, the condition can go undiagnosed until the kidney fails.

Shama Mirza
Shama Mirza

Mirza and her collaborator, Dr. Hrair-George Mesrobian, professor of urology at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, are developing a diagnostic test that will work like a glucose stick that diabetics use to monitor their blood sugar.

“We are looking for protein biomarkers that would serve as the identifiers,” said Mirza.

Some children with a less severe form of the disease can be silently afflicted for years – into adolescence and adulthood – before suffering various levels of organ failure. The test will allow earlier treatment – even in low resource settings – that will save lives.

Obstructive diseases of the kidney consume about a quarter of healthcare dollars spent on newborns and infants.

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