Vicente E. Torres, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Mayo Clinic Translational Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Center, supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Dr. Torres has published extensively on a multitude of topics, including epidemiology, phenotypic characterization, natural history and clinical management of PKD and related diseases. He has also contributed to the identification of responsible genes and expression and function of the encoded proteins, as well as to preclinical and clinical therapeutic trials.
Dr. Torres is a principal investigator for the NIH-funded Consortium for Radiologic Imaging Studies of Polycystic Kidney Diseases (CRISP) study and the recently completed HALT-PKD clinical trial. He also leads industry-funded clinical trials of vasopressin V2 receptor antagonists, which have led to the development of the first internationally approved drug for the treatment of ADPKD.
Epidemiology and phenotypic characterization of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). Dr. Torres' early work on the natural history of ADPKD contributed to the establishment of the CRISP study, which has provided the best available data on the natural history of the disease. Building on this information, Dr. Torres and colleagues have generated an imaging classification of ADPKD that is now used to optimize patient selection in clinical trials and may become a useful clinical tool to determine which patients will benefit from treatment, when one becomes available.
- Genetic and phenotypic characterization of autosomal dominant polycystic liver disease (ADPLD) and polycystic liver disease associated with ADPKD. In collaboration with Stefan Somlo, M.D., Dr. Torres has identified two genes (PRKCSH and SEC63) that are mutated in approximately 40 percent of patients with ADPLD. This ongoing collaboration has provided important clues into the molecular mechanisms of these diseases.
New animal models: Implications for gene identification and preclinical testing of therapies for ADPKD. Due to his focus on translational research and development of novel therapies, Dr. Torres has had a long interest on rodent models that could be used for preclinical trials.
He has led and collaborated on the characterization of several rat models, including the Han:SPRD rat; the PCK rat (in collaboration with Peter C. Harris, Ph.D.), which directly resulted in the identification and characterization of PKHD1, the autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) gene; and the Wpk rat (in collaboration with Dr. Harris and Vincent H. Gattone, Ph.D.), which led to the identification of a gene for Meckel-Gruber syndrome (MKS3). Another model developed in collaboration with Dr. Harris' group, the Pkd1RC/RC mouse, is currently the best PKD1 model for preclinical trials.
Several current clinical trials are based on studies using these models.
- Pathogenesis of hypertension and role of the renin-angiotensin system in ADPKD. Dr. Torres has a long-standing interest in the association of hypertension and ADPKD, as hypertension is one of the earliest and most consequential manifestations of ADPKD. His early findings, along with clinical studies from the University of Colorado and other studies, provided a rationale for the recently complete HALT-PKD clinical trials, which produced multiple significant findings.
- Role of vasopressin in ADPKD. The collaborative observations and findings of Dr. Torres and Dr. Gattone led to several clinical trials of tolvaptan, a V2 receptor antagonist. These trials include a large phase 3:4 clinical trial and have already led to approval of the drug for the treatment of ADPKD with rapidly progressive disease in Japan, Canada and the European Union.
Significance to patient care
Translational studies and attempts to improve treatment options for PKD and related diseases are the major focus of Dr. Torres' research.
- Co-organizer of the first Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) Controversies Conference on Autosomal Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), 2014; and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Science Research Conference on Polycystic Kidney Disease: From Molecular Mechanism to Therapy, 2014
- Member, Cellular and Molecular Biology of the Kidney Study Section, Center for Scientific Review, NIH, 2010-2014
- Research Career Achievement Award, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2009
- Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of Polycystic Kidney Disease, PKD Foundation and the International Society of Nephrology, 2007
- Member (1992-2004), vice-chair (2000-2002) and chair (2002-2004), Scientific Advisory Board, PKD Foundation