George Institute awarded grant to accelerate testing of multiple new therapies in kidney disease

A research project led by The George Institute that aims to identify and test combination treatment approaches to slow the progression of chronic kidney disease is set to receive AU$6.7M from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

One in 10 Australians live with chronic kidney disease (CKD), which can lead to serious outcomes such as kidney failure, cardiovascular events and disability, yet treatment options remain limited.

“Driven by rising rates of diabetes, obesity and hypertension, CKD is on track to become the fifth highest cause of death globally by 2040,” said Dr Sradha Kotwal, Head of the Renal and Metabolic team at The George Institute for Global Health, Conjoint Senior Lecturer, UNSW Medicine & Health and Staff Specialist Nephrologist at Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney.

“Yet trials in kidney disease have been challenging and prolonged compared with other specialities, which has, in turn, slowed the discovery of new therapeutics,” she said.

The ‘Chronic kidney disease Adaptive Platform Trial Investigating Various Agents for Therapeutic Effect’ (CAPTIVATE) research program aims to build an adaptive trial for testing multiple individual agents and untested combinations to slow the progression of kidney disease.

“As kidney function declines, the only options are life-sustaining kidney replacement therapy such as dialysis or transplantation - two of the most expensive therapies available,” said Dr Kotwal.

The number of Australians with kidney failure who received dialysis more than doubled between 2000 and 2021, from 6,400 to 15,200 (9,300 men and 5,900 women).1

“It’s very exciting to be awarded this grant, which will allow us to build a platform or ‘master protocol’ to rapidly study many new therapeutic options in people with CKD through trial centres in Australia and other countries,” said Dr Kotwal. “Importantly, we have worked with The George Institute’s Kidney Health Consumer Panel to ensure people with lived experience of kidney disease are engaged in guiding the design of the program, including the participant materials, so these are culturally appropriate and written in language that’s accessible for consumers.”

The innovative trial design will identify participants at high risk of worsening CKD, which will increase the chances of finding a positive effect from the interventions tested while also testing the treatments being studied in people who are most likely to benefit.


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Chronic Kidney Disease: Australian Facts. Accessed July 2023
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Dialysis and Kidney Transplantation in Australia: 1991-2010. 2012. Accessed July 2023