Yesterday, the director of the National Institutes of Health published an article about the advancements being made in identifying individuals at a higher risk for rapid progression of CKD. Here's what you need to know:The Problem: Even when CKD is diagnosed early, there's no accurate way to predict which individuals are at high risk for rapid progression. If there was an indicator for this, the care team could intervene earlier and slow or prevent kidney failure.
- Certain conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and autoimmune disease are known to contribute to the gradual loss of kidney function in people with CKD. However, once kidney damage reaches a certain threshold, it veers off to follow a common downhill course driven by factors almost independent from the conditions that caused it.
The Solution: NIH-funded researchers have identified a protein, easily detectable in urine, that appears to serve as an early warning sign of CKD progression.
- The protein is called epidermal growth factor, or EGF.
- With a simple urine test, an accurate measure of the EGF protein's activity in the kidney can be detected.
- CKD patients with low levels of EGF in their urine were four times more likely than those with higher EGF levels to have their kidney function worsen within a few years.
- These findings suggest that it may be possible to develop a simple EGF urine test to help identify which individuals with CKD could benefit the most from aggressive disease management and clinical follow-up.
- Researchers are exploring if this urine test could also prove useful in the early diagnosis of CKD before there are any other indications of kidney disease.
Although more studies need to be done, these findings are very promising! Thank you to the Kretzler Lab at the University of Michigan health System, Ann Arbor for your work in improving the lives of those with CKD. To read more about this study, click the link below.