One of the headline actors from the hit musical Chicago stepped off stage to take up a very different role earlier this week when he visited Cambridge University as ambassador for Kidney Research UK.
Former EastEnders star Stefan Booth, who is currently appearing at the Corn Exchange as part of the popular Broadway production, has been a close supporter of Kidney Research UK since losing his mum to polycystic kidney disease (PKD) in 2011.
While on tour in Cambridge, Stefan was invited to visit two projects being funded by the Charity, one of which hopes to identify new and improved treatments for PKD.
Professor Mike Edwardson, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge and lead researcher for Kidney Research UK said: “Polycystic kidney disease is a common cause of kidney failure and high blood pressure that derives from faulty genes and proteins.
“We’re using a novel imaging technique called atomic force microscopy, which allows us to study individual protein molecules that are 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. The information produced should significantly improve our understanding of how these proteins work in relation to the onset of PKD and, hopefully, help us design new treatments for the condition.”
Kidney Research UK funds more than £3.5million of research at institutes in and around Cambridge but must turn down four out of every five proposals for new projects because it does not have enough money to support them.
Stefan said: “Kidney disease represents a major threat to people’s health in this country and not enough is being done to combat it. One in 25 adults in Cambridgeshire alone is diagnosed as having the illness, which is potentially fatal and can’t currently be cured.
“Projects like this are fantastic and offer real hope to kidney patients but there’s still so much more we could be doing to help them.”
More than three million people in the UK are currently at risk from kidney disease, which can affect anyone of any age and presents few symptoms prior to reaching an advanced stage.
For more information about kidney disease and the work being undertaken by Kidney Research UK, please visit: www.kidneyresearchuk.org
Kidney Research UK Press Office: 01733 367860 or out of hours: 07733 103 830
Notes to Editors:
About Kidney Research UK
Kidney Research UK is the largest funder dedicated to research into kidney disease in the UK. Founded in 1961, the organisation recently celebrated its 50th anniversary supporting ground-breaking medical research to save lives.
Kidney disease is a silent killer and every year more than 51,000 people undergo treatment for kidney failure, 3,000 people die on dialysis, while 300 die waiting for a kidney transplant.
Kidney Research UK is dedicated to substantially reducing these numbers through funding life-saving research into kidney disease and by generating public awareness of kidney health.
90 per cent of people on the transplant list are waiting for a kidney, which is approximately 7,000 patients. Even though cases of kidney failure are increasing by five per cent every year, Kidney Research UK is currently only able to fund one in five research projects it receives proposals for, all of which are aimed at enhancing treatments and ultimately finding a cure for kidney disease.