Renal biopsy-driven molecular target identification in glomerular disease.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Pflugers Arch, Volume 469, Issue 7-8, p.1021-1028 (2017)




Chronic kidney disease has severe impacts on the patient and represents a major burden to the health care systems worldwide. Despite an increased knowledge of pathophysiological processes involved in kidney diseases, the progress in defining novel treatment strategies has been limited. One reason is the descriptive disease categorization used in nephrology based on clinical findings or histopathological categories irrespective of potential different molecular disease mechanisms. To accelerate progress toward a targeted treatment, a definition of human disease extending from phenotypic disease classification to mechanism-based disease definitions is needed. In recent years, we have witnessed a major transition in biomedical research from a single gene research to an information rich and collaborative science. Tissue-based analysis in renal disease allows to link structure to molecular function. In our review, we introduce the concept of precision medicine in nephrology, describe several large cohort studies established for molecular analysis of kidney diseases, and highlight examples of renal biopsy-driven target identification by integrative systems biology approaches. Furthermore, we give an outlook on how the new disease definitions can be used for patient stratification in clinical trial design. Finally, we introduce the concept of an informational commons of renal precision medicine for joint analyses of large-scale data sets in renal failure.