Johan van der Vlag, theme Renal disorders coordinates the GLYCOTREAT consortium that received a € 800,000 TKI grant from the Dutch Kidney Foundation - Top sector Life Sciences and Health (Health~Holland) call.
GLYCOTREAT, a public-private partnership of the Radboudumc, Leiden University Medical Center and two companies (GlycoCheck and Microvascular Health Solutions), will explore the glycocalyx and heparanase as biomarkers and therapeutic targets in treatment of glomerular diseases. The endothelial glycocalyx is a protective layer of sugars at the inner side of all blood vessels, including blood vessels in the renal filter.
Previously Johan van der Vlag and co-workers demonstrated that changes in the glycocalyx in the renal filter contribute to the development of proteinuria and glomerulonephritis. The glycocalyx-degrading enzyme heparanase appears to be the key-player in these pathological processes. GLYCOTREAT aims to translate these previous findings further towards clinical practice. GLYCOTREAT will test whether certain food components and diets can restore the glycocalyx in the renal filter of patients with diabetic nephropathy, and whether this is mediated by inhibition of the glycocalyx-degrading enzyme heparanase. The measurement of thickness of the glycocalyx in blood vessels under the tongue will be further developed and related to the status of the glycocalyx in the renal filter and glycocalyx fragments in the plasma and urine. GLYCOTREAT will generate molecular profiles of glycocalyx fragments in blood and urine of patients with different renal diseases and healthy controls, which may lead to novel biomarkers with added value for diagnosis and prediction of disease progression. The potential of specific glycocalyx fragments to treat inflammation of the kidney will be explored as well.
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