U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
James Balow
 

 Contact Info

 
Tel: +1 301 496 4181
Email: jimb@mail.nih.gov
 

 Training and Experience

 
M.D., University of Minnesota, 1968

B.S., College of St. Thomas, 1964

Clinical Immunology Fellowship, NIAID, NIH, 1972–1975

Internal Medicine and Nephrology Fellowships, Georgetown University, 1969–1972
 

 Related Links

 

    James E. Balow, M.D.

    Clinical Director, Division of Intramural Research
    Director of Translational Research, Division of Intramural Research​
    Senior Investigator, Kidney Disease Branch, Kidney Disease Section

    Specialties: Clinical Research​​

    James E. Balow, M.D.

    Senior Investigator, Kidney Diseases BranchKidney Diseases Section
    Clinical Director, Division of Intramural Research
    Director of Translational Research, Division of Intramural Research
    Clinical Director, Office of Clinical Director
    Specialties: Clinical Research

    Research in Plain Language

    Our research interest is the development and progression of autoimmune kidney disorders that impair the ability of the kidney to filter waste products from the bloodstream. Autoimmune diseases are difficult to treat without incurring the risk of harmful side effects from the drugs needed to suppress an overactive and autoaggressive immune system. In previous research, our section has demonstrated that the treatment option that delivers the most relief while doing the least amount of harm is intermittent cyclophosphamide. Nonetheless, this treatment causes substantial risk of infertility in both women and men. Our lab is testing other chemical compounds that could provide the basis for safer and more effective treatment.

    We have a particular interest in the treatment of membranous lupus nephropathy, a kidney disorder associated with the auto-antibodies and components of the normal filtering system of the kidney. Patients with membranous nephropathy are drained of normal blood proteins and are predisposed to blood clots, cardiovascular complications from high blood pressure, accelerated atherosclerosis, and ultimately, kidney failure. We are conducting an exploratory study to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a new combination treatment involving a chemical drug called cyclosporine and a drug called rituximab. Rituximab is a biologic agent designed to destroy the immune cells that produce the abnormal antibodies that work against the filtering apparatus of the kidneys. This process leads to leakage and waste of blood protein into the urine and ultimately to scarring damage of the filtering processes needed to eliminate metabolic wastes from the body (kidney failure).