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Subheading: "SysKid" project granted 11.8 million euros from EU - First meeting from 9-11 March at the Medical University of Vienna

Vienna (APA) - A research network against kidney diseases and - ultimately - also against hypertension: "SysKid". This European research project with Austrian involvement is going to use the modern methods of systems biology to deliver findings on a common complication of diabetes and high blood pressure: chronic kidney diseases. Better methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment for kidney disease are the target. The project is being funded by the European Union, which is providing 11.8 million euros. From 9 to 11 March the participants will be meeting for the first time, and this meeting is being held at MedUni Vienna.

Around 50 million people in Europe, ten percent of the entire population, suffer from a chronic kidney disease. The aim is to prevent the late stage and therefore dialysis or a kidney transplant. But with kidney disorders it is not only the function of the organ itself which is restricted. Renal insufficiency can also impair the cardiovascular system and bone metabolism - which leads to an increased risk of heart attack and osteoporosis. Patients with diabetes and high blood pressure are particularly at risk.

Here the European research network aims to open up new possibilities. "The SysKid researchers will use the modern methods of systems biology to study the effects of diabetes and high blood pressure on renal function," explained Bernd Mayer, managing partner of the R&D company emergentec biodevelopment GmbH, Vienna, which is coordinating the project. "We are concentrating on the initial stage of chronic kidney diseases in order to develop better strategies for prevention, diagnosis and therapy."

SysKid is an interdisciplinary research project, with doctors, statisticians, epidemiologists, molecular biologists and bioinformaticians from university hospitals, research institutes and biotech companies working together. The consortium includes 25 research groups from 15 countries: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary and the USA. The activities will run for five years. At the first meeting of the participants Niki Lauda will also be speaking - as someone who has been affected by kidney failure and transplants for years.