New discoveries in kidney stones

11/17/2020 6:19:22 AM

A recent film explores how Geology Professor Bruce Fouke and Mayo Clinic collaborators uncovered new findings on the formation of kidney stones, raising hopes for new treatment.

The Mayo Clinic and Illinois Alliance for Technology-Based Healthcare has a 10-year history of collaborations that led to important new medical knowledge and treatments. Now, joint research at Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is suggesting new possibilities for treating and preventing painful kidney stones.

"Our research collaboration with the University of Illinois grew out of a need to better understand the impact of the microbiome in kidney disease. This shared interest led to Bruce Fouke, Ph.D., a professor of geology who has a longstanding fascination with how microbial processes shape rocks, teaming up with John Lieske, M.D., a Mayo nephrologist who studies kidney stone formation," says Nicholas Chia, Ph.D., the Bernard and Edith Waterman co-director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine Microbiome Program and member of the Mayo Clinic and Illinois Alliance executive committee.

The film, "A World in a Grain of Sand: New Discoveries in Kidney Stones" tells the story of how the team pursued their line of inquiry. They found leads in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, the world of microbes that live in the kidney and the most detailed pictures ever taken of a kidney stone—images that are strikingly beautiful and unexpectedly informative. Another important clue lay in plain sight: the travertine stone used extensively in the buildings of Mayo Clinic.

Learn about the fascinating research that uncovered “a world in a grain of sand.” The film is available to the public for on demand viewing on Mayo Clinic Heritage Films and on Mayo Clinic Video Exchange.

This Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance article was written November 16, 2020, by Colette Gallagher. 

Also see:
Kidney Stones Are More Beautiful Than You Might Think (New York Times)
What do Yellowstone rocks teach us about kidney stones? (Mayo Clinic Individualized Medicine blog)