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Research improves knowledge, and therefore ultimately patient care.

Oxford Kidney Unit works closely with the University of Oxford, the Oxford National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre and other sponsors, and in close collaboration with the Oxford Kidney and Transplant Team.

Many members of our staff are also members of University departments, including the Nuffield Department of Medicine, the Nuffield Department of Population Health and the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences.

Research participant patient story

AM - Oxford Dialysis Patient

"I have been a dialysis patient for 15 years now, and I have been happy to participate in several trials over the years. The first trial I was involved in was in the 1960s, long before I was a kidney patient.

"I know that my consultant is very interested in research and this has made me interested too.

"The trials that I have been in have fitted in around my care - I have been in drug trials and also studies that do not involve medications. I see my participation as helping future patients, myself and future treatments and I have been glad to take part."

Research studies currently recruiting

Ongoing studies

We are no longer recruiting volunteers for these trials:

  • Rituximab for standard treatment resistant idiopathic Membranous Nephropathy in adults
  • SOLSTICE 303
  • NephroS
  • SONAR-12M


If a person develops kidney failure, the build-up of toxins and fluid can be fatal within a few days if untreated. Patients with kidney failure need either a replacement kidney (kidney transplant) or for the excess fluid and toxins to be removed from the body (dialysis). The commonest form of dialysis involves blood being filtered by a machine to remove toxins and excessive fluid (haemodialysis). This requires a brisk flow of blood through the machine to allow the toxins to be removed.

The safest way to achieve sufficient flow in the machine is by joining one of the veins to one of the arteries in the arm (an arteriovenous fistula). With time, this fistula increases in size and allows sufficient flow dialysis nurses to put two needles into the fistula (one taking blood from patient to machine, the other returning the 'cleansed' blood to the patient).

Unfortunately, up to half of arteriovenous fistulas fail within a year of being created. The reasons why this happens and how we can prevent it are largely unknown.

In 2018/2019 we ran the SONAR study, where patients underwent 'Doppler ultrasound' (a non-invasive scan that uses high frequency sound waves to create a picture of the blood flow in the fistula) in an attempt to identify early problems with a fistula that may lead to it failing. In SONAR, we followed patients up for 10 weeks after their fistula operation performing four scans during that timeframe.

In SONAR-12M, we would like to ask the SONAR participants for consent to access their medical records to see if their fistulas are still functioning and ever provided good access for dialysis.

We want to find out whether ultrasound can successfully identify fistulas that might have problems so we can intervene early to try and prevent the fistula from failing.

The local PI for this study is Mr Simon Knight.

Studies recently completed

  • Amgen Calcimimetics study

Other areas of research activity undertaken by doctors who work in the Oxford Kidney Unit

Large-scale trials and observational epidemiology

National Registry of Rare Kidney Diseases (RaDaR)

The National Registry of Rare Kidney Diseases (RaDaR) is an initiative by UK kidney specialists (the Renal Association).

It is designed to pull together information from patients who have certain rare kidney diseases. This will give a much better understanding of how these illnesses affect people. It will also speed up research.

This work is done in partnership with patients. Where the research leads to practical benefits, such as better diagnosis, treatments or general advice this will be publicised on this website.

Dr Ed Sharples is the consultant in charge of this project in Oxford. We will be approaching patients with rarer kidney diseases, but please feel free to contact us if you are interested:

Research Team: 01865 225096 / 225781 / 225360

The rarer kidney diseases included in this project include Alport Syndrome, IgA Nephropathy and Membranous Nephropathy as well as many others.

The list of rarer diseases and further information is available on the RaDaR website:

National Registry of Rare Kidney Diseases (RaDaR)

Contact us

For information about any of our work please contact our Research Nurse Team:

Quality in Organ Donation (QUOD)

The Quality in Organ Donation (QUOD) initiative is a nationwide programme which aims to identify pathways of injury and repair in donor organs.

Quality in Organ Donation (QUOD)