Expert on Rare Renal Disorder Tapped to Deliver Coburn Lectureship

Rajesh V. Thakker

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Studies of unusual disorders can shed light on the working of the kidney, and the lessons from one of these disorders will be the subject of the Jack W. Coburn Endowed Lectureship on Friday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m. “Stone Formation in Dent’s Disease” will be the topic addressed by Rajesh V. Thakker, MD.

Dr. Thakker is the May Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford. He was previously professor of medicine at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, The Hammersmith Hospital, London, until 1999, when he took up his present position in Oxford.

Dent’s disease is a renal tubular disorder characterized by low-molecular-weight proteinuria, hypercalciuria, nephrolithiasis, nephrocalcinosis, and progressive renal failure. The disorder is caused by mutations in the X-chromosome-linked renal-specific chloride channel CLC-5. CLC-5 belongs to the family of voltage-gated chloride channels that function as homodimeric proteins.

Dent’s disease has been reported in some 250 families. The main symptoms are generally found in males only, and may be present in early childhood. The care is supportive, focusing on the treatment of hypercalciuria and the prevention of kidney stones. Progression to end stage renal failure occurs between the third and fifth decades of life in 30 to 80 percent of affected males.

Dr. Thakker will discuss how molecular studies and the generation of mouse models of the disease have increased our understanding of the renal tubular mechanisms that regulate mineral homeostasis. The findings fit with his main research focus on the molecular basis of disorders of calcium homeostasis.

Dr. Thakker is currently chairman of the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health Research/Medical Research Council (MRC) Efficacy and Mechanisms Evaluations Board. He has served on the MRC Physiological Medicine and Infections Grants Committee (1994 to 1997), the MRC Clinical Training and Career Development Panel (1997 to 2000), the MRC Physiological Medicine and Infections Board (2000 to 2005), and the Council for the Society for Endocrinology (2003 to 2006). He served as secretary to the Forum on Academic Medicine for the Royal College of Physicians (United Kingdom) and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (2002 to 2005).

He has received many prizes, including the Young Investigator Award and the Louis V. Avioli Founder’s Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, the Raymond-Horton Smith Prize (Cambridge University, United Kingdom), the Society for Endocrinology Medal (United Kingdom), the European Journal of Endocrinology Prize (European Federation of Endocrine Societies), and the Graham Bull Prize from the Royal College of Physicians (United Kingdom).

Notes

[1] ASN gratefully acknowledges Amgen for support of the Jack W. Coburn Endowed Lectureship.

October-November 2012 (Vol. 4, Number 10 & 11)