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Mark E. Williams, M.D.

Mark E. Williams, M.D., is a Clinical Investigator in the Section on Clinical Research at Joslin, Senior Staff Physician at Joslin Clinic, Co-Director of Dialysis at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He received his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Southern California Medical Center, Boston City Hospital and Beth Israel Hospital. He has served on numerous national committees and was named Physician of the Year by the National Kidney Foundation of Massachusetts in 1998.

Dr. Williams is a nephrologist who conducts clinical research on diabetic kidney disease and its potential treatments. These have included inhibitors of glycation, a biochemical reaction that occurs throughout the body in the presence of hyperglycemia. During glycation, glucose attaches to large molecules, including proteins, altering tissue architecture and cell chemistry. This process might explain many complications of diabetes. Glycation results in the buildup of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which impede the functioning of normal cells. In the kidneys, for example, AGEs damage normal filters. Joslin studies show that the buildup of AGEs in patients with diabetes and advanced kidney disease affects not only the kidneys, but also large blood vessels, leading to related complications such as cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Williams is also developing and testing treatments for chronic kidney disease in patients who have diabetes and those who do not. This research includes a comparison of two approved angiotensin receptor blockers (angiotensin is a hormone linked to vascular damage, including in the kidneys); these data are now being studied.

Joslin is the leading investigative site for a Phase 3 clinical study of a drug for early diabetic nephropathy that works by restoring the properties of the damaged filters in the kidneys. In addition, Dr. Williams and team have completed a Phase 1 clinical study of a drug that may reverse the scarring caused by diabetic nephropathy in the kidneys’ filtering units by blocking a factor in the body that promotes scarring. The drug will soon enter Phase 2 clinical studies.

In addition, Dr. Williams is analyzing and publishing data on the role of glycemic control in patients who require chronic dialysis for kidney failure. He will soon begin a study that evaluates a glucose sensor compared to conventional glycemic monitoring in hemodialysis patients.

Selected References

Williams ME.  New potential agents in treating diabetic kidney disease: the fourth act. Drugs 66: 2287-2298, 2006.

Williams ME, Lacson E Jr, Teng M, Ofsthun N, Lazarus JM.  Hemodialyzed type I and type II diabetic patients in the US: Characteristics, glycemic control, and survival. Kidney Int 70: 1503-1509, 2006.

Williams ME, Tuttle KR. The next generation of diabetic nephropathy therapies: an update. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis 12: 212-222, 2005.

Battle D, McGill J, Williams M. Guest editorial: diabetic kidney disease. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis 12: 126-127, 2005.

Williams M, Stanton R.  Management of diabetic kidney disease. Joslin’s Textbook on Diabetes 14th ed. Kahn RC, Weir GC, King GL, Moses AC, Smith RJ, Jacobson AM (eds).  Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 925-949, 2005.

Page last updated: July 23, 2014