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Kidney disease and children

Chronic kidney disease is a common and serious problem in Australia, currently impacting 1.7 million Australians, and costing our economy approximately $1 billion every year. Over 11,000 Australians are currently on dialysis, and 1400 patients are waiting on thekidney transplant list.

Kidney disease means that a person’s kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood the way they should, which leads waste to build up in the body.

In children, a significant proportion of kidney disease is inherited, and in many instances the disease-causing mutation is unknown. This makes both diagnosis and treatment more difficult.

Left untreated, chronic kidney disease may progress into kidney failure, for which there is no cure. Kidney disease patients are usually treated with dialysis, but a replacement kidney is the best option for some.

Treatment options for chronic kidney disease and kidney failure have not advanced much in the last 70 years. Long-term dialysis can severely impact quality of life and may provide a life expectancy of just five to 10 years. The waiting period for a replacement kidney in Australia is typically three to seven years. Some patients may never receive one.


To apply genetics and stem cell biology to improve diagnosis and therapy for genetic kidney disease, starting in children and extending to those with adult-onset disease.


To build a collaborative strategic team of worldclass kidney researchers and paediatric nephrologists toward a targeted and multi-faceted research program that will advance our understanding of what causes kidney disease, and improve how we diagnose and treat patients.

MCRI’s Kidney flagship

At MCRI we have the right expertise, experience, and facilities to drive toward new and urgently needed treatment options for kidney disease. 

Our partner in the Melbourne Children’s Campus, The Royal Children’s Hospital, and MCRI’s wholly owned subsidiary the Victorian Clinical Genetics Service, serve and treat a significant number of Australian babies and children with kidney disease.

We are searching for the causes and pathways involved with paediatric kidney disease, and we have the critical capacity to develop novel, precise treatment options for our patients.

MCRI’s Kidney flagship is a strategic, collaborative program uniting our best and brightest clinicians, biologists and bioinformaticians to tackle the currently unanswerable questions around kidney disease. We strive to give each and every child the opportunity for a healthy and happy future.

With the MCRI Kidney flagship, we can accelerate our understanding of the causes of paediatric kidney disease and develop new interventions.

Understanding causes and developing new interventions will not only improve children’s lives, but could ultimately provide a pathway to novel interventions for adult-onset kidney disease and address a major burden on Australian lives and the Australian economy.