As a research fellow in the laboratory of Professor David Salant, MB, BCh, at Boston University, Laurence Beck, MD, PhD, spent several frustrating years trying to identify the targets of the autoantibodies that cause idiopathic membranous nephropathy (IMN). Finding these targets was critical to understanding why the immune system attacks the body’s own cells in that disease. Then, in 2009, he and his colleagues identified the M-type phospholipase A2 receptor PLA2R as a prime target (1). At the time, they didn’t know how pivotal their discovery would be.
“When we finally identified PLA2R, that was certainly a time of excitement,” said Beck, now an associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. “I don’t think we really realized how big a story it would be 10 years later. It really has changed this one small area of nephrology and has allowed us to make big steps forward in this disease.”
Recently, Dr. Beck spoke with Kidney News about the 10-year anniversary of PLA2R and what has happened in the field since then.
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