New York, NY, March 23, 2007 --(PR.com
)-- Peter Mundel, M.D., an internationally-known investigator trying to unlock the mystery of diseases that cause a breakdown in the human kidney filter, has joined the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the NephCure Foundation in its battle against kidney disease. This was just announced during the ongoing celebrations for the national Kidney Disease Awareness Month.
Now a professor of medicine/nephrology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, Dr. Mundel received extensive medical training in his native Germany, where he began attracting the attention of his peers with numerous articles and lectures. In 2003, he received the prestigious “Young Investigator Award” from the American Society of Nephrology.
With the addition of Dr. Mundel, the NephCure SAB now consists of 10 highly respected scientist/researchers whose work is crucial in the fight against idiopathic Nephrotic Syndrome and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, or FSGS. (NBA star Alonzo Mourning raised the profile of FSGS after the disease forced him to undergo a kidney transplant.)
“Dr. Peter Mundel is a leading research scientist in the area of podocyte biology.” said Dr. Lawrence Holzman, Chair of the SAB and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. “He has published seminal contributions in this area and has been recognized widely for this work. I'm thrilled that he has agreed to serve on Nephcure's SAB; there is no doubt that he will provide valuable leadership to the organization."
A major focus of Dr. Mundel’s laboratory is the makeup and function of podocytes, key cells found in each of the one million separate filtration units (glomerulus, singular) packed into a single human kidney. These extensions are called “foot processes” and they coordinate with membranes in the blood vessel walls to create extremely narrow slits (slit diaphragm) through which blood wastes are filtered for their eventual disposal through the urine.
Recently, Dr. Mundel’s team has uncovered an “unanticipated novel role” for a molecule called B7-1, which under certain circumstances can disrupt the podocyte filter and cause the leakage of protein into the urine (proteinuria), one of the symptoms of Nephrotic Syndrome. When proteinuria continues unabated, it can cause FSGS, or scarring of the kidney filter, which often destroys the kidney and sends patients into dialysis or kidney transplantation.
Dr. Mundel states, “The observation that B7-1 in podocytes may contribute to the pathogenesis of proteinuria by disrupting the glomerular filter is very exciting for us because it provides a novel molecular target to tackle proteinuric kidney diseases.”
His lab is currently working on four federally funded research projects and he is the author or co-author of 86 original research articles. He has lectured before prominent science groups throughout the world, from Switzerland to Japan, and he is a member of numerous scientific organizations, including the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and the American Society of Nephrology.
Founded in 1999 by parents of children with idiopathic Nephrotic Syndrome or FSGS the NephCure Foundation has partnered with the federal government to fund research seeking the cause and cure of those conditions.
More information about that research and NephCure can be found at the foundation’s web site at www.nephcure.org, which includes a glossary of many of them medical terms used in this release.