Contact: Lucia Lee
Mount Sinai Press Office
[email protected]

Goal is personalized therapies for tens of millions of people with two most common diseases

Newswise — (New York, NY – November 2, 2017) – The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, along with the Kidney Research Institute, a collaboration of UW Medicine and Northwest Kidney Centers in Seattle, have joined forces on an ambitious, newly funded effort to care more precisely for the tens of millions of Americans who have chronic kidney disease or acute kidney injury. 

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is launching the “Kidney Precision Medicine Project,” a five-year effort that spans 18 sites across the United States. The NIDDK is one of the National Institutes of Health.

“We are excited to embark on this project with our colleagues at UW,” said Srinivas Iyengar, PhD, the Dorothy H. and Lewis Rosenstiel Professor of Pharmacological and Biological Chemistry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of the Mount Sinai Institute for Systems Biomedicine. “This is a unique opportunity to enhance care for many by shedding new light on the condition of the individual patient.”

“The goal is to transform the way we think about diagnose and treat the most common kidney diseases,” said Dr. Jonathan Himmelfarb, who heads the Kidney Research Institute and is a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “If we’re successful, we will categorize these diseases differently in the future, understand the molecular mechanisms at work in individual patients, and develop diagnostics and therapeutics that target each individual’s condition – instead of lumping patients together under a big-bucket diagnosis of ‘chronic kidney disease’ as we do now.”

Chronic kidney disease affects over 30 million Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes and high blood pressure are common causes. With the condition, a person’s kidneys cannot adequately filter blood, causing wastes to accumulate in the body and increasing risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.

Acute kidney injury is a rapid deterioration of kidney function stemming from conditions such as blood loss, sepsis, dehydration, damage from medications, or as a complication of another serious illness.  It commonly affects patients who have been hospitalized and who are elderly, or are in the intensive care unit.  Currently there are no effective treatments.

In the project, 18 university-based medical centers will divide the work, some with dual roles:

  • Six sites will recruit people with acute kidney injury or chronic kidney disease to be in the study and submit biopsy samples.
  • Ten sites will develop ways to scrutinize, or interrogate, human kidney tissue.
  • Four “central hub” sites will collect, coordinate, analyze, and visualize the data and samples and administratively support the project.

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the Kidney Research Institute, a collaboration of UW Medicine and Northwest Kidney Centers, and University of Miami, will serve as the central hub. The hub sites’ award, collectively, is $19.3 million over five years. Central to the project is the creation of an online atlas of patients’ biopsy samples that will extensively characterize kidney anatomy.

About the Mount Sinai Health System 
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City’s largest integrated delivery system encompassing seven hospital campuses, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai’s vision is to provide the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 10 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation’s top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in four other specialties in the 2017-2018 “Best Hospitals” issue. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital also is ranked in six out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology and 50th for Ear, Nose, and Throat, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally. For more information, visit, or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.