UK Renal Imaging Network
The global burden of kidney disease is significant with 10% of the world’s population having chronic kidney disease (CKD). In developed countries alone, over two million people sustain acute kidney injury (AKI) every year.
A recent series in the Lancet provided a global perspective on kidney disease, specifically identifying new methods to diagnose kidney diseases and the development of new drugs as key priorities for the next decade. However, options are limited by shortcomings in current methods to image the kidneys.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has emerged as a promising new approach for improving the management of kidney diseases. MRI provides not only structural information, but functional MRI methods allow assessment of the whole kidney in terms of inflammation, fibrosis, oxygenation, and microstructure.
Who we are
The UK Renal Imaging Network (UKRIN) brings together major UK renal MRI research centres through membership of a national group of MR physicists, radiologists, and clinicians dedicated to developing MRI methods for the study of the kidney.
The group is chaired by Professor Sue Francis, Professor at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre at Nottingham, and Dr Nick Selby, Associate Professor of Nephrology and Honorary Consultant at Nottingham and Royal Derby Hospital.
- Standardising and harmonising MRI measures between different centres, MRI vendor platforms and field strengths - this will be addressed by the UKRIN-MAPS grant.
- Maximising the potential of renal MRI by combining multiple measures of kidney structure and function into a single scan, so-called multiparametric MRI.
- Designing clinical studies to show the biological validity and clinical utility of multiparametric renal MRI as a strategy to translate to clinical practice.
- Evidencing cost-effectiveness.
- To co-ordinate ongoing activities in the field of renal imaging research.
- To build a shared framework with standardised methods for renal imaging in clinical research.
- To generate research proposals for multicentre clinical studies involving renal imaging.
- To provide imaging expertise and methods for clinical studies that arise from other Clinical Study Groups (CSGs) within the UKKRC.
- To facilitate collaboration between investigators involved in renal imaging research.
- To initially focus on MRI and later expand to include other imaging modalities.
If you have a research idea or proposal we would like to hear from you. By working with the UKRIN, we aim to assist investigators in the acquisition of grant funding. We can provide advice about study design, facilitate potential collaboration and our involvement can be cited in funding applications.
Our next meeting will be in Sheffield on 21 January 2020 - please do join us.
Our work, impact and achievements:
MRC Partnership - UKRIN: MAPS (MRI Acquisition and Processing Standardisation)
We have been awarded a Medical Research Council Partnership grant which commenced on 1 September 2018 for 3 years. This aims to enable clinical translation of functional MRI for kidney disease and specifically will address:
- Sharing of expertise and building capacity in renal MRI
- Development of harmonized approaches in renal MRI across MR field strength (1.5 and 3 T) and MR vendors (GE, Philips, Siemens)
- Repeatability data in a healthy subject cohort
- Development of data sharing and data analysis methods
- Acceleration of new technological advances and realising the clinical potential of renal MRI
We also organised the Third International Meeting on Renal MRI on 15-17 October 2019 in Nottingham. This was a collaboration with the European Co-operation in Science and Technology (COST) action CA16103 PARENCHIMA.
The symposium brought together scientists and clinicians from several disciplines in a unique attempt to shape the future of renal functional imaging. It provided an overview of cutting edge clinical and pre-clinical renal imaging techniques, and explored the clinical relevance of renal imaging, the future directions of renal functional MR, and the harmonization of these approaches with clinical applications. Slides from the event will be available soon.
AFiRM - Application of Functional Renal MRI to improve assessment of chronic kidney disease. A multicentre clinical study building on UKRIN-MAPS infrastructure. Submitted to NIHE EME programme.
EU COST action PARENCHIMA - connects research initiatives across Europe to accelerate dissemination. We are actively involved through Steven Sourbron, Leeds.
Collaboration with other national initiatives eg QUOD, and links with the UK Renal Regenerative Medicine and UK Renal Fibrosis Networks.
Major publications - our members, working within PARENCHIMA, have led or contributed to a series of systematic reviews and an international position paper on their clinical and research applications.