Progressive loss of kidney function often causes adverse health outcomes. The GKC programme is aimed at halting decline in kidney function. A multidisciplinary approach is used, based on both experimental and clinical studies, to stimulate the development of both lifestyle and pharmacological interventions.

Although in the early stages, loss of kidney function can be mild and asymptomatic, advanced stages are associated with numerous adverse health outcomes. These include burdensome kidney replacement therapies, cardiovascular disease, reduced life expectancy, and decreased quality of life. To tackle this issue, the GKC programme promotes interventions related to the prevention and treatment of kidney function decline, with a focus on personalized medicine and cardiorenal interaction. The GKC research activities range from basic science and experimental and clinical intervention studies to the clinical implementation and dissemination into clinical practice and society. The GKC programme includes:

  • Experimental studies involving animals, in vitro cell culture conditions, or human experimental setups to unravel the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms; 
  • Intervention studies aimed at pharmacological interventions, lifestyle interventions, and a combination of these;
  • Cohort studies aimed at identifying prognostic factors in the general population, populations at high risk of renal disease, and cardiac and/or renal disease populations, including native renal disease patients, transplant recipients, and kidney donors.

The GKC research improves the health outcomes of patients with kidney disease by developing screening programmes and lifestyle and pharmacotherapeutic interventions

Lifestyle factors contributing to accelerated ageing, such as nutrition, obesity, lack of physical activity, and environmental toxins, decrease the quality of life and reduce the life expectancy of patients with kidney disease. The GKC longitudinal, lifelong approach enables the researchers to generate data, resources, and concepts that promote therapeutic interventions. These improve the health outcomes, life expectancy, and quality of life of patients with chronic kidney disease and, therefore, contribute to healthy ageing.

The multidepartmental collaboration with the Division of Nephrology and the departments of Pathology and Medical Biology and Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology enables our researchers to develop innovative translational research approaches. Because the GKC researchers have access to the rich scientific resources available in the clinic and the research facilities, they are able to provide more insight into loss of kidney function and into effective treatment and prevention strategies. The efforts include:

  • The completion of a large international clinical trial demonstrating that dapagliflozin, a sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitor, reduces the risk of kidney and heart failure and prolongs survival in patients with chronic kidney disease;
  • The completion of various studies based on which the first-ever treatment for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease has received marketing authorization;
  • The collaboration with drug registration agencies to improve clinical trial designs in the field of nephrology (FDA/EMA collaborations with National and International Kidney Foundations);
  • The foundation of the European Renal Association COVID-19 Database (ERACODA), a European consortium to study the clinical impact of COVID-19 on dialysis or kidney transplant patients. The results of this study received nationwide attention when the Dutch Kidney Foundation referred to them when raising money for COVID-19 research;
  • Efficacy and safety assessments of COVID-19 vaccines in patients with severe kidney disease.


University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Institute GUIDE
P.O. Box 196
9700 AD Groningen
The Netherlands