About Us

The Hamilton Centre for Kidney Research (HCKR) is directly affiliated with the Division of Nephrology located at St. Joseph’s Healthcare.  Our mandate is to combine our expertise in basic science research and clinical research so that we can reduce the risk of kidney disease and it’s complications.

Basic research asks questions about the mechanisms underlying human biology. The knowledge acquired from basic research is often essential in the development of future applications to the care of patients.  As an example, understanding a particular molecular pathway involved in a disease process can lead to the development of new drugs which can influence this pathway. Basic research is usually, but not always, conducted in animal and/or cellular models. Direct relevance to human health and disease is not a requirement but is frequently the case in medical basic science research.

The National Institute of Health’s definition of clinical research can be summarized as any of the following:

  1. patient-oriented research conducted with human subjects or samples to understand mechanisms of human disease, evaluate therapeutic interventions, or develop  new technologies
  2. epidemiologic or behavioral studies
  3. outcomes research and health services research

Translational research is an attempt to bring these two research approaches together to better understand more directly the nature of disease in humans. This has perhaps been best described as follows:

Translational research fosters the multidirectional integration of basic research, patient-oriented research, and population-based research, with the long-term aim of improving the health of the public.
Defining Translational Research: Implications for Training, Rubio et al.

The heart of translational research is to take findings from the bench to the bedside and ultimately to a population level. Having basic scientists and clinical researchers working together on a particular human disease or condition, such as kidney disease, is much more conducive to translational research than having the two types of research taking place in isolation.

We have a number of basic scientists and clinical researchers working on many important areas in kidney disease. Many of the studies ongoing involve collaboration between basic scientists and clinical researchers, paving the way to translational research in kidney disease. Patient-oriented research in the form of clinical trials is being enhanced by the collection of samples from patients to elucidate the mechanisms of disease – the findings of which can then be directly applied to subsequent clinical studies evaluating new therapeutic strategies.  Some of the ongoing studies include: FIG, FIT, THESIS, and FLUID.

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