SARA – A Molecule That Maintains Renal Health By Preventing Progressive Scarring in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

December 03, 2020

Approximately, 14% of the US population is affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD) with roughly 4.5 million patients currently requiring dialysis. An additional two million patients live with transplantation to supplement kidney function lost due to CKD. SARA is a molecule that could bring a new hope for the patients with CKD.

Tomoko Hayashida, MD, PhD, is Research Associate Professor of Kidney Diseases in the Division of Nephrology at Lurie Children’s. Her lab is located at Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute, where all of the research by Lurie Children’s is conducted. Utilizing her expertise as a nephrologist and a molecular biologist, Dr. Hayashida and her team have been working on elucidating mechanisms of progression for chronic kidney disease to find a better and more precise care for the patients. One of her focus areas is fibrosis, or excess scarring of tissue. As the disease progresses, scar materials accumulate and replace functioning kidney tissue, leading to loss of function. While there is little way to slow or halt this process to date, her team recently found that SARA could play a novel and critical role at the early stage of scar formation in the kidney. SARA appears to prevent a specific set of cells that are destined to become scar-forming cells from getting activated, and therefore, is a potentially innovative therapeutic target. The project is currently funded by NIH and her team is working to decipher the mode of action of SARA.