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10 million to Henrik Dimke for kidney stone treatment project

Kidney stones are the focal point of the research conducted by Henrik Dimke, Professor at the Department of Molecular Medicine. His aim is to understand the underlying mechanisms and thereby develop new treatment methods.

By Marianne Lie Becker, , 5/16/2024

With the grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Henrik Dimke can launch a groundbreaking project aimed at developing new treatments for kidney stones, a condition affecting an increasing portion of the population.

Kidney stones form when too much calcium accumulates in the urine. This condition affects up to 10 percent of the global population and often leads to recurring painful episodes.

Henrik Dimke’s research focuses on a specific protein in the kidneys called the calcium-sensing receptor (CASR), which plays a crucial role in regulating how much calcium ends up in the urine.

-The CASR in the kidney detects how much calcium is in the blood, and if this is too high, it regulates how much is excreted in the urine. Unfortunately, this mechanism is also altered in some patients who form kidney stones, explains Henrik Dimke.

Meet the researcher

Henrik Dimke is a professor at the Cardiovascular and Renal Research unit at the Department of Molecular Medicine.


Fact Box: What does transgenic mean?

Transgenic strategies refer to techniques where researchers insert foreign genes or DNA sequences into an organism to alter its genetic composition. When a transgene is introduced into an organism, it can help produce specific traits or reactions that would not be possible in a non-transgenic organism.

In the context of kidney stone research, transgenic strategies can be used to create mouse models where specific genes involved in calcium transport and kidney stone formation can be manipulated. Researchers can, for instance, add, alter, or remove genes encoding proteins such as CASR or other relevant proteins to study how these changes affect the formation of kidney stones.

Using advanced transgenic methods, Henrik Dimke and his team will investigate how the activation of CASR affects calcium excretion and how understanding this can lead to new ways to prevent the formation of kidney stones.

-Our preliminary data has shown that there is a completely new mechanism through which CASR affects calcium excretion. This opens up entirely new treatment possibilities in the long term, says Henrik Dimke.

In the project, the researchers will use advanced methods, including transgenic mouse models and microscopic techniques, to study these proteins in the kidneys.

-This will not only contribute to a deeper understanding of kidney stone disease but also potentially lead to the development of new drugs that can prevent kidney stones from forming, says Henrik Dimke.

-With this project, we at the University of Southern Denmark can take the lead in the fight against a widespread and painful condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

About the Grant

Henrik Dimke has received the grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation under the Distinguished Investigator Programme – Bioscience and Basic Biomedicine. Read more about the foundation’s grants here.

Editing was completed: 16.05.2024