Andrea Sánchez Navarro, a PhD student of Biomedical Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), received the National Youth Award in the category of Science and Technology for her method for early detection of kidney damage.
The university student discovered that the Serpina3k molecule can serve as a marker to early detect kidney damage without the need of a biopsy. Navarro worked under the tutelage of Norma Bobadilla Sandoval, a researcher at the Peripheral Unit of the Biomedical Research Institute (IIBm) at the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubirán (INCMNSZ).
The kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood and eliminate waste products from metabolism; in addition, they maintain fluid balance and secrete hormones. Chronic kidney disease is the permanent loss of kidney functions, as a result of chronic noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure.
According to the Mexican Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), 13,132 people died due to kidney failure in 2016, placing this condition among the ten main causes of mortality in the country. Given this situation and interested in finding a method to detect this disease in time, Sánchez Navarro started looking for early molecular markers in animal models, the UNAM said in a statement.
Naturally, Serpina3k is found in the blood and its function is to regulate coagulation and inflammation. However, its function in the kidney is not yet known, said Sánchez Navarro.
“When we began to analyze the patients, in some we found uncommon levels of this molecule, although they had no diagnosed clinical renal dysfunction; the presence in the urine of Serpina3k was indicative, without the need for a biopsy, that there was an alteration in renal function and structure,” she explained.
This led her, along with her advisor, to patent the diagnostic method, which could now be used for the benefit of those who arrive at the Institute, and in the future in other health centers, she estimated.
At 24 years old, Sánchez Navarro was recognized with the bronze medal in the VI Ibero-American Biology Olympiad (2012) in Portugal, and in the Session Winner, Oral Session Nephrology and Urology, ISCOMS, Groningen in Holland (2015) .
Source: Agencia ID