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

 Contact Info

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

 Select Experience

  • Clinical Immunology FellowshipNIAID, NIH1972–1975
  • Internal Medicine and Nephrology FellowshipsGeorgetown University1969–1972
  • M.D.University of Minnesota1968
  • B.S.College of St. Thomas1964

 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 Section, Kidney Disease Branch

Specialties: Clinical Research​​

James E. Balow, M.D.

Senior Investigator, Kidney Disease SectionKidney Diseases Branch
Clinical Director, Division of Intramural Research
Director of Translational Research, Division of Intramural Research
Clinical Director, Office of Clinical Director
  • Clinical Research
  • Nephrology
Research Summary/In Plain Language

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).