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Professor Patricia Wilson and the PKD BioResource Bank

Professor Wilson is an honorary Professor of Medicine at University College London leading research into polycystic kidney diseases and renal development. She is also a PKD Charity trustee.

“After receiving degrees from Nottingham and London Universities studying cell biology, I was fortunate to begin my biomedical research career in the inspirational group of Dr L. M. Franks at Imperial Cancer Research Fund. I specialised in kidney studies and was recruited to the University Health Science Centre of Colorado, Denver, USA as Assistant Professor to develop cell-based research of the human kidney in the Nephrology/Medicine Department of Dr Robert Schrier. These were pivotal times. This internationally collaborative group initiated large-scale, longitudinal, evidence-based clinical studies which drove widespread research into the molecular, cellular and genetic changes responsible for PKD. 

“After rising through the academic ranks and directing NIH-funded research programmes for over 20 years at Johns Hopkins and Mount Sinai, New York Medical Schools, I returned to the UK as Professor of Medicine at UCL/Royal Free Hospital in 2010.”

The PKD BioResource Bank and its role in PKD Research

“The primary goal of PKD research is to translate knowledge about PKD genes and proteins into effective therapies to slow and ultimately stop kidney function decline. The success of translational research depends on the availability of well-characterised research material.

“With strong support from the PKD Charity trustees, we established the PKD BioResource Bank, a large collection of well-curated PKD patient research samples that are readily available to any UK researcher.

The BioResource contains hundreds of celltissues and fluid-based samples donated by ADPKD and ARPKD patients at various stages of kidney function decline. Samples from this unique collection have been provided to the majority of major PKD research centres in the UK. Importantly, this has also helped encourage collaborations between groups and allow investigators from other research fields to expand their studies to include PKD projects.”

How valuable is the support that the BioResource Bank receives from the PKD Charity? 

“Continuity of funding to supervise, manage, collate, audit, supply, process and distribute the BioResource collection is absolutely essential. Traditional funding sources are not available. Those funders do not support open-ended supervisory, technical personnel and consumable costs needed to support permanent sample storage and experimental processing. 

“PKD Charity funding over the past 13 years has been critical. It is not an exaggeration to say that it provides the lifeline to keep this unique PKD sample collection intact as well as the focus and incentive for PKD researchers and therapeutic development in the UK.

"We are eager to expand and develop new initiatives, for example, recruitment of more patients and longitudinal data collection. More funding from the PKD Charity will help us achieve this.”

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