Understanding the role of ITGA11 in renal fibrosis to advance diagnostic and therapeutic strategies

Principal Investigator – Dr S. M. Ammar Raza

Long term damage to the kidney results in scar production or kidney fibrosis. The scarring impairs kidney function and increases the risk of kidney failure. Identifying effective anti-fibrotic treatments would be hugely beneficial as none currently exist. The characteristic scar promotes progression of fibrosis. Discovering how to block scar production or how it signals to surrounding cells that drives fibrosis represents a very attractive therapeutic avenue. We have identified the cell surface receptor integrin alpha 11 is very important in the cells response to scar and may represent a targetable novel factor for anti-fibrotic medicines. Moreover, as a receptor specific to the cells that make scar, this factor may also improve current diagnostic strategies through either simple detection on a biopsy or in the long term as a novel non-invasive imaging compound directly in patients.