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PSS Winter '12

BIG IDEAS IN MEDICAL RESEARCH

Rick Andrews ’73 on Treating Kidney Disease

by Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley ’05

Rick Andrews

Rick Andrews '73

Winston Churchill said, “once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.” I stumbled into working on renal disease in the 80s, but once I started meeting the patients who suffer through dialysis I couldn’t go on as if nothing happened.

Today, my company is working on ther- apies to treat acute kidney injury (an often fatal, in-hospital event) and to combat chronic kidney disease, the kind you see in patients with diabetes and hypertension. Chronic patients suffer progres- sive loss of kidney function due to fibrosis, which leads to chronic dialysis. We are developing peptides that protect the kidney and block the process by which fibrosis forms. Our therapies have been shown, so far, to be safe and to stop kidney loss.

One additional benefit is that our peptides are not destroyed by stomach enzymes, so they can be taken orally. This could be a major breakthrough: a pill to prevent and treat chronic kidney disease. If it’s effective in humans, these patients would not face the prospect of chronic dialysis!

This breakthrough results from more than 25 years of work. Groundbreaking ideas don’t become game-changing innovations without a whole team of talented people working hard for a common goal. Hard work and commitment are what make good ideas real.

• President and CEO, Thrasos Innovation, Inc.
• S.M., Technology and Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
• M.S., Chemistry, Purdue University
• B.S., Chemistry, Hobart College