The LifeCycle (Malta) Foundation and Nescafé have donated Eur25,000 to the University of Malta’s Research, Innovation and Development Trust (RIDT) in support of current research being undertaken to determine the underlying genetic defects in patients with polycystic kidney disease in Malta and Gozo, the most commonly inherited kidney disorder and a significant cause of end-stage renal disease.
A cheque was presented to Professor Alfred Vella, Rector of the University of Malta, by Alan Curry, Founder of the LifeCycle (Malta) Foundation, and Chairperson Dr Shirley Cefai in the presence of representatives of Nescafé, the main sponsor of this year’s challenge, and members of the RIDT research team. The programme is being run by the University’s Anatomy and Cell Biology Department in collaboration with the Department of Medicine and the Department of Pathology at Mater Dei Hospital.
Dr Shirley Cefai, Chairperson of LifeCycle (Malta) Foundation, said: “Through the Foundation, we have supported kidney disease research and renal patients locally, for over 20 years through the LifeCycle and LifeWalk challenges, the latter having been conceived after the disruptive COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than just supporting the patients in treatment, LifeCycle believes that the research is essential to try and prevent this chronic disease from occurring in the future.”
Dr Edith Said, from the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology said: “The results of the study have shown that the genetic profile of Maltese patients with polycystic kidney disease is different from that reported in other countries. Novel mutations which have not been reported in scientific literature have been identified and further functional analysis on these is ongoing. The patients’ clinical presentation correlated with the particular gene defect identified by DNA analysis, making genetic testing of patients important in their clinical management. This study gives hope to patients suffering from ADPKD potentially supporting the therapeutic landscape after a recent breakthrough of gene therapy for kidney diseases.”
Charmaine Falzon, Product Manager for Nescafé, said: “This is the fourth year Nescafé will be supporting the LifeCycle (Malta) Foundation. We strongly believe in supporting local research that is specific to certain genetic diseases conditions in Malta in order to possibly find cures and improve people’s lives. The work the Foundation does also ties in perfectly with our company’s position on promoting healthy lifestyles, enhancing the quality of life as well as our commitment to the wellbeing of the communities we operate in.”
The University Rector Prof. Alfred J. Vella said that “This type of research cannot be carried out, unless we have adequate funding. Malta will benefit from advanced research in kidney disease and I applaud our researchers as well as academics, who are making this happen with the constant support given by the RIDT. The University greatly appreciates this generous donation from the Lifecycle Foundation towards this ongoing research and I am sure it will be used fruitfully.”
This year’s 2,000-kilometre LifeCycle Challenge will take place between 31 October and 14 November, for the first time in South America. Lifecyclists will be covering between 160 and 200 kilometres daily, to cross from Buenos Aires in Argentina to Santiago de Chile, climbing up to an elevation of about 3,500 metres in the Andes, the highest any challenge has achieved thus far.
The LifeCycle (Malta) Foundation is the only NGO that raises funds in support of patients suffering from kidney failure and covers three principle areas: awareness, treatment and research. To achieve this, the foundations works with the medical staff at the Renal Unit in Mater Dei Hospital and the University of Malta Research Trust.
Donations to the LifeCycle (Malta) Foundation can be made via Revolut on 9932 9101, by PayPal on this link: https://buff.ly/35g17CC and via SMS: 5061 7370 for €2.33; 5061 8920 for €6.99; 5061 9229 for €11.65; or via a call to 5160 2020 for €10; 5170 2005 for €15; and 5180 2006 for €25.
Donations can be made also via bank transfers via Swift code VALLMTMT, IBAN MT 18 VALL 22013000000014814521017, with the Bank name being Bank of Valletta, and account number 14814521017.