Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu

Peritoneal immunity group

Renal replacement therapy is a chronic incurable condition associated with significant morbidity and mortality and requires daily therapeutic intervention. While there remains no cure for renal deterioration and the number of available kidney donors is limited, chronic dialysis remains an essential daily life-saving treatment modality.

Translation, Innovation, Methodologies & Engagement

(Chief Investigator)

Infection & Immunity

Cardiff & Vale NHS

Molecular & Experimental Medicine

Treatment with peritoneal dialysis (PD) offers significant treatment, lifestyle, and quality of life advantages over hospital haemodialysis. In addition, it is a more cost-effective therapy. The “Achilles’ heel” of PD, however, remains the susceptibility to recurrent infection with detrimental effects on the process of dialysis through direct membrane damage, but also in more severe infection through significant morbidity and mortality.

Over the past decade there has been a shift in infection profiles towards more virulent infections and an increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance. This, together with the already unacceptable cure and relapse rates, and concomitant morbidity and mortality represent significant limitations to PD therapy.

As we approach the post-antibiotic era there is a clear need for novel therapies to fight infections by resistant strains and improve patient outcomes. If we are to limit the susceptibility to infection and the detrimental impact of prolonged inflammation on membrane longevity, we need to better understand the processes causing deleterious alterations to the peritoneal immune response.

The peritoneal cavity in PD serves as unique window to inflammatory scenarios that can be prospectively observed in vivo. It affords easy, continuous access to all relevant cellular and humoral players, and allows us to examine how treatment and infection modulate these processes. We know of no other experimental model that gives such direct insight into human immune responses in a similarly clinically relevant, convenient, non-invasive manner.

Recent news

13 February 2015: Support for research into acute and chronic kidney disease
Kidney Research UK supports collaborative projects at the School of Medicine into novel biomarkers in patients with acute kidney injury and patients with peritoneal dialysis-related infection

11 January 2014: Fight against peritoneal membrane failure advances
20-year of research demonstrates link between chronic inflammation and end-organ damage

12 November 2013: NISCHR Newsletter November 2013
Project showcase: Dr Gareth Roberts - Improving patient outcomes from peritoneal dialysis (pp.3-4)

31 October 2013: "Immune fingerprints" discovery means new hope for infected patients
Cardiff University scientists who are committed to developing improved treatments for patients with chronic kidney disease have discovered a novel way of accelerating the detection of bacterial infection using the patients' own immune system.

24 September 2013: Landmark study provides key to improved survival in dialysis patients
Clinicians and scientists from Cardiff and Keele Universities publish data from a landmark study that explains why survival in patients on peritoneal dialysis is low.

21 May 2013:
Work led by Dr Mario Labéta and published in the journal Science Translational Medicine by Dr Anne-Catherine Raby et al demonstrates that peptides derived from the body’s natural immune sensors known as Toll-like receptors can boost immune responses to pathogens

24 April 2013: Substantial boost for innovative research
Cross-disciplinary research teams led by Dr Timothy Bowen and Dr Matthias Eberl at the School of Medicine receive prestigious Product Development Awards worth a total of £625,000 through the Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

16 April 2013: Cardiff launches nation-wide study into dialysis-related infections
Clinicians and researchers at Cardiff University and the University Hospital Wales are launching a UK-wide multicentre study to help identify new diagnostic biomarkers in peritoneal dialysis patients during episodes of acute peritonitis

Our funding

  • Baxter Healthcare, Extramural Grant Programme
  • European Union (Marie-Curie Initial Training Network, FP7)
  • National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme
  • National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR)
  • Research Councils UK
  • Wellcome Trust
  • Kenyon Gilson EPS Research Fund
  • Kidney Research UK


  • European Peritoneal Dialysis Meeting (EuroPD)
  • Renal Association (RA)


  • Prof Simon Davies
    (University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, UK)
  • Prof An de Vriese
    (Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium)
  • Prof Olivier Devuyst
    (Nephrology, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium)
  • Dr Brendan Jenkins
    (Monash Institute for Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Prof David Johnson
    (Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia)
  • Prof Joaquín Madrenas
    (University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)
  • Dr Rachel McLoughlin
    (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA)