St Peter’s Trust provides initial ‘pump-priming’ grants for urological and nephrological (kidney/renal) research, supporting both laboratory science and clinical developments. Such grants enable the researchers to test their theories, obtain the preliminary data and establish the potential value of their ideas so that applications can then, where appropriate, be made to the Government funded Research Councils and the major medical research charities, or commercial organisations.
In the last ten years the Trust has raised some £3,500,000 in grants for research projects and more than 60 projects have been funded.
In 1990 the Trust also achieved its target of raising £1 million as an endowment to establish the post of Professor of Nephrology at UCL (the first in Britain). The current holder of the post is Professor Danny Gale. As his post is mainly funded by the Medical School, the fund’s surplus is paying the costs of a PhD student in his department and for some bench costs. These posts will contribute significantly to advances in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease.
Currently the Trust is funding research being undertaken on various aspects of kidney, bladder and prostate disease. But the work is constantly evolving and more money is needed to take the ideas further and translate the scientific concepts into clinical practice.
At present much of the research we support involves the study of genetic disorders – that is, any disorder caused wholly or partly by faults in the inherited material in a person’s cells. It is now suspected that many diseases of the kidney and other organs result from gene malfunctions. If these faulty genes can be identified the aim then is to try and devise suitable interventions. More funds need to be raised to enable this work to continue.