Physician-Scientist Ying Maggie Chen Receives Patent for Preventing and Treating ER Stress-Mediated Kidney Diseases

Dr. Ying Maggie Chen
Ying Maggie Chen, MD, PhD

Congratulations to Ying Maggie Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology, and co-inventors, Sun-Ji Park, PhD, Yeawon Kim, and Fumihiko Urano on their patent “Compositions and methods for treating and preventing endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-mediated kidney diseases that was issued on September 28, 2021.  

The ER plays important roles in folding, posttranslational modifications, and transport of secretory and membrane proteins.  When there is a mismatch between the load of unfolded/misfolded proteins and the folding capacity, “ER stress” occurs.  Prolonged or severe ER stress can trigger cell suicide, usually in the form of apoptosis.  ER stress contributes to the pathogenesis of a wide variety of human podocyte and tubular based kidney diseases.

Chen and co-inventors found that ER calcium channel stabilizing agent K201 and MANF can inhibit ER stress-induced calcium efflux from the ER to the cytosol in kidney cells and suppress ER stress-mediated apoptosis. 

The patent (U.S. Patent Number 11,129,871) grants the use of an ER calcium stabilizer, K201, and the biotherapeutic protein, MANF (mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor), to treat ER stress-mediated kidney disease, including focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, membranous nephropathy, minimal change disease, Alport syndrome, diabetic nephropathy, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), acute kidney injury, among others.

Visit the Y. Maggie Chen Lab website to learn more about her group’s research.