Existing clinical markers for early renal disease are very limited. Better monitoring and management of renal disease is a pressing unmet medical need. The overall goal of this project is to develop the application of new hyperpolarized carbon-13 (13C) MRI technology for monitoring renal disease. In addition to the candidate's research plan, this application for a NIDDK Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) also includes a mentored career development plan for Dr. Cornelius von Morze to achieve his ultimate career goals as an independent investigator. This resubmission application contains enhanced multi-disciplinary research and training plans for improved scientific and clinical impact. Dr. von Morze will investigate new contrast mechanisms based on novel hyperpolarized (HP) 13C MR molecular imaging contrast agents to probe key renal transport and metabolic processes in preclinical models. HP urea imaging, co-polarized and imaged simultaneously with a reference tracer, will be applied to probe renal urea transport with high specificity. HP urea imaging will be applied to monitor clinically significant altered states of urea transport: progressive renal damage associated with NSAID use, and novel "urearetic" drug- induced diuresis. Molecular imaging of HP lactic acid will be investigated as a novel probe of renal gluconeogenesis, a crucial contributor to glucose homeostasis in the fasting state which is dramatically and selectively dysregulated in type 2 diabetes mellitus. These imaging studies will allow highly novel characterization of renal disease in preclinical murine models.
This research aims to improve monitoring and management of renal disease with the potential for clinical translation due to the noninvasiveness, safety, and feasibility of these new molecular MR imaging methods. Dr. Cornelius von Morze's graduate work focused on advanced MRI technique development and his postdoctoral research has resulted in new technical development and applications of novel HP 13C MR molecular imaging contrast agents, particularly for renal imaging. The mentored career development plan described in this proposal will expand Dr. von Morze's breadth of knowledge with theoretical and experimental experience in preclinical models, renal physiology, biological assays and histology. He will also improve his skills for hypothesis-driven research and in laboratory management. This NIDDK K01 project has been designed to enable his long-term goal of leading world-class independent university research in MR molecular imaging of renal disease for the study of both experimental disease models and ultimately patients to address currently unmet clinical needs.

Public Health Relevance

Prevalence of chronic renal disease has increased dramatically in recent years, and is projected to increase much further over the next decade. Better management of renal disease is a pressing unmet medical need. The proposed project could result in new noninvasive ways to monitor early renal disease, better understanding of the factors that lead to progression of renal disease, and the evaluation of new treatments to prevent its progression.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Digestive Diseases and Nutrition C Subcommittee (DDK)
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Rankin, Tracy L
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University of California San Francisco
Schools of Medicine
San Francisco
United States
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von Morze, Cornelius; Carvajal, Lucas; Reed, Galen D et al. (2014) Directly detected (55)Mn MRI: application to phantoms for human hyperpolarized (13)C MRI development. Magn Reson Imaging 32:1165-70