Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

New screening tests for renal damage

The research effort focuses on the usefulness of tests for kidney damage resulting from environmental pollutants and the development and validation of new early markers of nephrotoxicity. Most studies on the effect of environmental pollutants have been limited to small cohorts usually containing about 50 individuals. As a result of collaborative studies it has been possible to establish a central database which contains data from 450 workers exposed to toxins and 350 normal individuals. The results of 21 tests and individual questionnaire data were recorded in the database. The data from each group and pooled data were subjected to statistical analysis. Using this approach reference range are assigned for each of the tests and the variation in different tests related to the level of environmental exposure. It has also been possible to assess the importance of different life factors such as smoking on the various tests and types to toxins. It is hoped that this database will be expanded to include more information on females and children, new promising tests and a wider range of groups exposed to potential kidney toxins. Several promising new tests are being considered which provide either additional specificity or sensitivity as well as the 21 tests already carried out on all samples. This is being done with a view to ultimately deciding on a combination of a small number of tests for environmental monitoring. The simplification of some tests is being undertaken and as a result several test kits have been developed. It is hoped to develop a 'laboratory in the pocket' so that testing could be carried out on site. Most renal damage is progressive so that the earlier it is detected the greater the chance of successful treatment.

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