Anita Layton co-principal investigator on $2M CIHR-Kidney Foundation-funded diabetes research project

Monday, November 29, 2021

Anita LaytonA new series of research projects funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research and the Kidney Foundation aim to improve outcomes for people living with diabetes.

Anita Layton, Canada 150 research chair and professor of applied mathematics, computer science, pharmacy and biology and associate dean of research and international, is a co-principal investigator on one of those projects, which has recently been awarded $2 million in funding.

Layton and the team launched the research project, called SUGARNSALT, with the aim of learning about the impact of a class of medications called sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors on kidney function in people with type 1 diabetes.

According to the Kidney Foundation research brief, SGLT2 inhibitors have been discovered to reduce the risk of kidney failure and cardiovascular diseases in people with type 2 diabetes. The hope is that SGLT2 inhibitors may also prove beneficial for people with type 1 diabetes.

Layton joined the team to contribute expertise in mathematical medicine and computer modelling, an approach she describes as using “mathematics as the new microscope.”

“It is an exciting new research project,” Layton said. “It fits within the long trajectory of my work on renal physiology and mathematical biology. There’s a strong team that’s been assembled and I’m looking forward to digging in.”

The SUGARNSALT research project is being run primarily out of the University Health Network and includes collaborators from research institutions all across Canada. Another Waterloo and Faculty of Mathematics researcher on the team is Mehrshad Sadria, a PhD candidate in applied mathematics. Layton and Sadria have recently worked on several projects together, including on research related to mathematical modelling of COVID-19 infections.

“We’re going to be using mathematical modelling to predict how SGLT2 inhibitors could reduce risks of kidney failure or needing dialysis or transplant,” Layton continued. “As the project goes on, we will also be looking at some of the related health risks to other organs and systems associated with type 1 diabetes, like heart failure.”

“Living with diabetes can have significant challenges, so hopefully this research will result in findings that can improve outcomes for people.”

Read more about the SUGARNSALT research project and the team members in the Kidney Foundation research brief.

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