Chronic Kidney Disease Research Round-Up: October 2018

Today, 30 million people in the United States are living with chronic kidney disease (CKD). It's often not diagnosed until patients reach the later stages of the disease, and is often associated with other conditions such as anemia and heart disease.

More research is needed to develop better treatments for CKD, and to better understand the cause and connection between CKD and other conditions. We gathered the most recent kidney disease research, covering promising clinical trials, interesting findings, and studies on lifestyle changes for CKD.

Positive results seen in two Phase 2 rare chronic kidney disease trials

Reata Pharmaceuticals recently saw positive results for two chronic kidney disease treatments in Phase 2 trials. The results were significant enough that the company's stock rose by 65%.

One of the Reata treatments in development is for a kind of CKD called Alport syndrome, a rare genetic condition that causes loss of kidney function.

Phase 2 results suggested that one year of treatment may be able to reverse the effects of Alport syndrome. The results are so positive that the treatment may be put on the fast track for FDA approval.

The Phase 3 trial is currently enrolling around 150 volunteers for a placebo-controlled trial.

A Phase 2 trial of a treatment for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, a common cause of kidney failure, also saw positive results.

Link between heart disease and kidney disease remains complex

People with CKD are at a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, so much so that patients are more likely to die of heart failure than to develop end-stage kidney failure. But researchers don’t fully understand the connection between kidney health and the heart.

Because altered kidney function changes the protein content of "good" cholesterol, HDL, researchers believed HDL protein makeup could be a strong indicator of heart failure risk in CKD patients.

After running the study, however, there was not a specific protein indicator that was statistically significant. It was an important learning for researchers as they continue to investigate this complex connection.

More education is needed around kidney disease and diet

A kidney-friendly diet can help prevent further kidney damage, according to the National Kidney Fund. But a new study found that the vast majority of kidney disease patients don't receive professional counseling on how diet affects their disease.

Both the National Kidney Foundation and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend "medical nutrition therapy" for patients at all CKD stages, but 90% of patients never see a dietician, according to the study.

The study authors found that some doctors don't refer patients to dietitians because they believe it may not be covered by their insurance. While not all private insurance plans cover medical nutrition therapy, many plans do, as well as Medicare. They also said that some doctors aren't aware of the effectiveness of diet therapy for kidney disease.

Featured Clinical Trial

Clinical trials for patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) are looking for volunteers. Learn more and see if you may qualify.