Foundation Research News RSS Feed
International Alport Syndrome Meeting Report Published

July 15, 2014 - The 2014 International Workshop on Alport Syndrome, held in Oxford, UK in January 2014, published its report in the July issue of Kidney International. Support for this Workshop is part of The Kidney Foundation’s collaboration with  other organizations to pool resources to generate new knowledge to reduce the burden of kidney disease and raise awareness of this rare genetic condition.

“The Kidney Foundation of Canada was proud to support this workshop” says Dr. Julian Midgley, President of the Kidney Foundation and Workshop participant, “It was an important step forward in furthering research and clinical care for Alport Syndrome”.

Download the 2014 International Workshop on Alport Syndrome report


The Kidney Foundation of Canada is currently funding the following research on Alport Syndrome:

•    Dr. Judith Savige 2014 – 2015
Correction of the genetic defect in Alport Syndrome using the TALEN approach
The University of Melbourne (Aus)
(co-funded with the Alport Syndrome Foundation (US) and Pedersen Family)

•    Dr. Stefano Da Sacco 2014 - 2015
Podocyte response to injury in Alport Syndrome: an answer from human amniotic fluid kidney progenitors
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Cal.
(co-funded with the Alport Syndrome Foundation (US) and Pedersen Family)

Research on Alport Syndrome previously funded by The Kidney Foundation of Canada:

•    Dr. Oliver Gross 2013 – 2014
Nephroprotective and antifibrotic potential of Micro-RNA21 in the COL4A3 mouse model of Alport Syndrome
University Medical Centre Goettingen (Ger)
(co-funded with the Alport Syndrome Foundation (US), the Macquarie Group Foundation and the Pedersen family)

•    Dr. Christopher Licht 2012 – 2013
Eculizumab in Alport Syndrome
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto
(co-funded with the Macquarie Group Foundation and the Pedersen family)

•    Dr. York Pei 2012 - 2013
Systems biology approach to identify novel therapeutic targets for Alport Syndrome
University Health Network, Toronto
(co-funded with the Macquarie Group Foundation and the Pedersen family)

•    Dr. Judith Savage 2013 – 2014
Derivation and characterisation of induced pluripotent stem cell lines from patients with X-linked Alport Syndrome - a model for examining mechanisms and therapies
The University of Melbourne (Aus)
(co-funded with the Alport Syndrome Foundation (US), the Macquarie Group Foundation and the Pedersen family)

KFOC, Pedersen Family and Partners award two new 2014 Alport Syndrome Research Grants

June 17, 2014 - The Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Pedersen Family, the Macquarie Foundation and the Alport Syndrome Fondation are pleased to announce that they have jointly awarded funding for two research projects on Alport Syndrome.

Dr. Judy Savige of the University of Melbourne and Dr. Sharon Ricardo of Monash University (Australia) were awarded $100,000 for a one-year study on Correction of the genetic defect in Alport syndrome using the TALEN approachClick here to read Dr. Savige’s and Dr. Ricardo’s full research abstract.

Dr. Stefano Da Sacco of Children's Hospital Los Angeles was awarded $100,000 for a one-year study on Podocyte response to injury in Alport Syndrome: an answer from human amniotic fluid kidney progenitors. Click here to read Dr. Da Sacco's full research abstract.

 

Dr. Adeera Levin Awarded Kidney Foundation of Canada’s 2014 Medal for Research Excellence

June 2, 2014 – For her outstanding accomplishments in kidney disease research, Dr. Adeera Levin has been awarded the 2014 Kidney Foundation of Canada Medal for Research Excellence. Dr. Levin, a nephrologist and researcher at St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Health Care, and the University of British Columbia, is the first BC researcher to receive this award. Recently named President (2015 to 2017) of the International Society of Nephrology, she is the second woman and first Canadian ever elected to this post. She is also the inaugural editor of the new Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease (CJKHD), an open-access scholarly publication and the first of its kind to serve the Canadian nephrology community.

Innovative Research 
Dr. Levin’s research has focused on the early development of kidney disease and its association with other conditions, particularly cardiovascular disease (CVD). Her description of unique abnormalities in the physiology of kidney patients with CVD such as remarking the presence of anemia and abnormal levels of vitamin D, phosphate and parathyroid hormone (PTH), was novel and resulted in a series of basic research collaborations to better understand the biology of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and CVD.

As lead investigator of the  Prediction of Death, Dialysis and Interim Cardiovascular Events (CanPREDDICT) study, a large pan-Canadian project, she seeks to understand the factors leading to renal and cardiovascular disease progression in CKD patients. This new translational program, a first for nephrology in Canada, will study the genetic information (genotype) and observable characteristics (phenotype) of 2,500 patients.

Outstanding Patient Care, Mentorship and Knowledge Translation Work
Head of the Division of Nephrology at the University of British Columbia and Executive Director of the BC Renal Agency, Dr. Levin has leveraged her epidemiological training, clinical knowledge and health outcomes research to develop an evidence-based system that enhances the care of patients across the continuum of care, from diagnosis to treatment.

“Dr. Adeera Levin has always emphasized the importance of collaboration and evidence-based medicine, and its acquisition when it is lacking, to guide patient care or health care resource allotment,” says Dr. Michelle Hladunewich, Head of the Divisions of Obstetric Medicine and Nephrology at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. “Her collaborative spirit is most notable. It extends beyond her countless trainees to the many young investigators across Canada, introducing them to international opportunities.”

Dr. Levin is Chair of both the national Curriculum Task Force for the Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training (KRESCENT) program, where she mentors promising young researchers, and of the Knowledge User group of the Canadian Kidney Knowledge Translation and Generation Network (CANN-NET), where she coordinates pan-Canadian studies in CKD. She also chaired the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) CKD Work group, responsible for the updated 2012 diagnostic and treatment guidelines. Dr. Levin has authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications, numerous book chapters and co-edited a text book on chronic kidney disease.

Download the press release

 

First Nations Adults with Diabetes Have More than Double the Risk of End-Stage Kidney Disease

December 2, 2013 - In a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), the risk of end-stage renal disease was found to be 2.66 times higher for First Nations than non–First Nations adults with diabetes. Over 82% of First Nations people had diabetes before age 60, whereas most non–First Nations (56%) were over age 60.
 
Type 2 diabetes can result in end-stage renal disease after years of slow decline in kidney function, and among First Nations adults, it is increasingly occurring at a younger age. The authors recommend focusing on prevention strategies to reduce the number of new cases of diabetes and help delay the onset of end-stage kidney disease.

In a related paper in CMAJ, Alberta researchers found that rates of kidney disease are two to three times higher in First Nations people than in non–First Nations people. However, the association of albuminuria — the secretion of the protein albumin in urine, which indicates kidney problems — was similar in both First Nations and non–First Nations people. The Kidney Foundation is proud to support study coauthors Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn through the Roy and Vi Baay Chair in kidney research, Dr. Susan Samuels through the KRESCENT Program and Drs. Manns and Tonelli through other research awards.

For more information:

"Differential mortality and the excess burden of end-stage renal disease among First Nations people with diabetes mellitus: a competing-risks analysis"

"Association between First Nations ethnicity and progression to kidney failure by presence and severity of albuminuria"

Dr. Marcello Tonelli Awarded 2013 Medal for Research Excellence for Changing Nephrology Practice in Canada and Beyond

November 15, 2013 - Dr. Marcello Tonelli, the first clinician-researcher to show that statin treatment is effective in managing the cardiovascular risk associated with the early stages of chronic kidney disease, has been awarded The Kidney Foundation’s 2013 Medal for Research Excellence. Dr. Tonelli’s innovative research has changed Canadian drug policy, improved the health of vulnerable populations, and informed both national and international clinical practice.

People with chronic kidney disease are at increased risk for cardiovascular events and are more likely to die of heart failure than to develop kidney failure. Dr. Tonelli’s groundbreaking research in the area of cholesterol reduction led the way in improving treatment for these patients. His more recent research indicates that statin therapy may also reduce the rate of kidney function loss and lessen the risk of acute kidney failure.

“Dr. Tonelli’s work has shaped national and international clinical practice guidelines for the management of lipid abnormalities in kidney patients,” says Dr. Barbara Ballermann, Chair of the Department of Medicine and Professor of Medicine at the University of Alberta.

At the population health level, Dr. Tonelli’s work has changed Canadian drug policy. His economic analyses are frequently cited when evaluating the cost versus health benefit of two drugs central to the treatment and long-term survival of dialysis patients: erythropoietin (used to help control blood pressure) and sevelamer (used to manage high blood levels of phosphorous, a mineral whose build up can cause heart problems).

More recently, his finding that remote-dwelling patients with kidney failure are more likely to die due to lack of access to kidney transplantation as a mode of treatment, has encouraged considerable discussion and informed decision-making regarding optimal care provision to this vulnerable population.

Dr. Tonelli has notably taken his expertise overseas to help at-risk populations in low-income settings. He established a partnership with a hospital for the indigent in Guadalajara, Mexico, and (with his wife, also a physician) volunteers regularly at a mission hospital in Kenya.

A graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Dr. Tonelli completed his clinical nephrology training at Dalhousie University followed by a Master’s of Science in Clinical Epidemiology at Harvard Medical School. He is a nephrologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Alberta, where he supervises an impressive research team including clinician-scientists who have formed a non-profit organization, the Kidney Health Research Group.

“Dr. Tonelli’s scientific drive and humanity have garnered respect and inspired colleagues and new researchers both here in Canada and abroad. His research and professional activity, as well as his volunteerism, continue to impact patient care,” says Dr. Julian Midgley, National President of The Kidney Foundation.

Author of more than 280 peer-reviewed publications, many in the highest ranked scientific journals, and immediate Past President of the Canadian Society of Nephrology, Dr. Tonelli is also a Canada Research Chair in optimal care for people with chronic kidney disease. He is volunteer chair of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Task Group, leading an international group that will inform Canada’s 36,000 Family Physicians about best practices in disease prevention.

Download the press release

 

Paying Living Kidney Donors May Be Cost-Effective and Help Prolong Lives

October 25, 2013 - A strategy of paying living kidney donors, with a consequent increase in the number of transplants performed, could be less costly and more effective than the current organ donation system, according to a new study co-authored by the University of Calgary’s Lianne Barnieh, PhD, and Dr. Braden Manns published in the Oct. 24 issue of Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

According to their model, a strategy to increase the number of kidneys for transplantation by five per cent (a very conservative estimate) by paying living donors $10,000 could result in an incremental cost savings and a gain of quality-adjusted life years over a patient’s lifetime.

“Such a program could be cost saving because of the extra number of kidney transplants and, consequently, lower dialysis costs. Further, by increasing the number of people receiving a kidney transplant, this program could improve net health by increasing the quality and quantity of life for patients with end-stage renal disease,” says Barnieh.

The prevalence of End-Stage Renal Disease is increasing worldwide but transplantation rates have not kept pace. New strategies are urgently needed but there are considerable legal, ethical and moral issues surrounding the use of financial incentives in living kidney donation.

“While it is crucial that we increase kidney transplant rates in Canada, the commercial trade of human organs is illegal in most countries, largely because the practice often exploits the most vulnerable” said Paul Shay, Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada, “but we should consider all options to improve the donation rates”.

More than 80 international professional societies and governmental agencies, including The Kidney Foundation of Canada, have endorsed The Declaration of Istanbul, a policy document designed to promote both deceased and living donor transplantation around the world in a manner that protects the health and welfare of both recipients and donors while ending exploitation.

For more information:

The Kidney Foundation of Canada position statement on the commercial trade of human organs: http://www.kidney.ca/trade-of-human-organs

University of Calgary press release: http://www.ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2013-10-25/study-finds-paying-people-become-kidney-donors-could-be-cost-effective

Abstract and full text versions of the study on the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology website: http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/content/early/2013/10/23/CJN.03350313.abstract?sid=e3638cbe-714b-4ef7-913d-8da3e80c309e

Interview with Lianne Barnieh, PhD:
http://www.albertaprimetime.com/Stories.aspx?pd=5750

The Kidney Foundation congratulates Dr. Andreas Laupacis on being awarded the inaugural CIHR Barer-Flood Prize in Health Services and Policy Research

October 10, 2013The CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (CIHR-IHSPR) is pleased to announce that Dr. Andreas Laupacis, Executive Director of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael's Hospital, is the recipient of the inaugural CIHR Barer-Flood Prize in Health Services and Policy Research. Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose and Ontario Health and Long-Term Care Minister Deb Matthews presented the award to Dr. Laupacis at a reception held as part of the F/P/T Health Minister’s Meeting in Toronto. They were joined byDr. Alain Beaudet, President of CIHR, and Dr. Robyn Tamblyn, Scientific Director of CIHR-IHSPR.

“Research and innovation are key to strengthening our healthcare system” said Minister Ambrose. “I congratulate Dr. Laupacis on receiving this honour and commend him for his exceptional contribution to improving healthcare for Canadians as a researcher, mentor and physician.”

Read the Canadian Institutes of Health Research full press release

New Research to Discover a Cure for Rare Kidney Disease

The Kidney Foundation of Canada joined forces with The Macquarie Group Foundation (Australia) and The Alport Syndrome Foundation (U.S.) to undertake The Kidney Foundation’s first international research competition into Alport Syndrome. Dr. Oliver Gross (Germany) and Dr. Judith A. Savige (Australia) have each been awarded research grants of nearly $100,000 to develop effective treatment for this rare genetic disorder that is the second most common inherited kidney disease.  An inherited disorder of the basement membranes of the kidney, eye and ear, Alport Syndrome (AS) accounts for 3% of all people with kidney failure (end-stage renal disease).

Alport Syndrome mostly affects young men who eventually require dialysis or a kidney transplant by their early 20s. “Because Alport Syndrome is such a rare genetic disease, an international research competition is the optimal means to bring together the best talent and knowledge in this area,” says Kurt Pedersen, Senior Vice President, Investment Advisor, Macquarie Private Wealth.

“We believe that by pooling our resources, The Kidney Foundation of Canada can help generate new knowledge that can reduce, maybe even eliminate, the burden of kidney disease. We also hope to raise awareness of this rare genetic condition that can have such devastating consequences,” says Paul Shay, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation.

Download the full press release (pdf)

 

CSN Announces Editor in Chief of New Journal

June 28, 2013 - At its Annual General Meeting in Montreal, the Canadian Society of Nephrology (CSN) announced the selection of Dr. Adeera Levin as the inaugural editor of the new official CSN Journal. Dr. Levin will move forward with plans for this open access journal, the first of its kind to serve the Canadian nephrology community.

Dr. Adeera Levin is Executive Director of the BC Provincial Renal Agency and Chair of the Curriculum Task Force for the innovative Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training Program, better known as KRESCENT (www.krescent.ca).

The Kidney Foundation of Canada congratulates Dr. Levin on her appointment and looks forward to the launch of a new medical journal for nephrologists in Canada.

 

Dr. Adeera Levin appointed President of the International Society of Nephrology

May 31, 2013 - The Kidney Foundation of Canada congratulates Dr. Adeera Levin on her appointment as President of the International Society of Nephrology, starting May 2015.

This is a tremendous achievement that reflects Dr. Levin’s many years of hard work on behalf of nephrology in general and the Canadian nephrology community in particular.

Dr. Levin is Executive Director of the BC Provincial Renal Agency and Chair of the Curriculum Task Force for the innovative Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training Program, better known as KRESCENT (www.krescent.ca).

To learn more about her Kidney Foundation funded research, consult page 15 of the 2012 edition of Let’s Talk Research.

 

Sugary Drinks May Increase Risk of Kidney Stones

May 24, 2013 – In a recently published study in the Clinical Journal of American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), Dr. Gary Curhan reported that people who consumed one or more servings of sugar-sweetened, non-cola drinks per day had an increased chance (33%) of developing kidney stones. Other sugary drinks such as cola and punch were also associated with a higher risk. Sugary drinks also contribute to obesity and tooth decay.

Doctors advise patients to increase their fluid intake to prevent kidney stones. This study shows that it is important to consider the type of fluid that is consumed.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada has funded research on kidney stones, including the following research from Dr. Todd Alexander (University of Alberta, Edmonton):

  • KRESCENT Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2007 – 2009
    “Regulation of calcium homeostasis by the anti-aging hormone, klotho”
  • KRESCENT New Investigator Award 2009 – 2012
    “Molecular Mechanisms Mediating Coordinated Proximal Tubular Sodium, Calcium, Bicarbonate and Water Absorption”
  • KFOC Biomedical Research Grant 2009 - 2011
    “The molecular determinants of proximal tubular calcium absorption”
  • KFOC Biomedical Research Grant 2011 – 2014
    “Molecules & mechanisms mediating proximal tubular calcium flux”

For more information on Dr. Todd’s research in articles previously posted on this page, see “Diets high in salt deplete calcium in the body” (July 25, 2012) and “People who get kidney stones are twice as likely to develop kidney failure: U of A medical research” (September 6, 2012).

Link to Globe and Mail article, May 24, 2013:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/sugary-drinks-may-increase-the-risk-of-kidney-stones/article12103117/

Launch of new Canadian National Transplant Research Program

April 22, 2013 - Through the development of new knowledge and health care practices a new national transplantation research program, announced today by the Federal Government, will address barriers to tissue and organ donation and will improve health outcomes for transplant recipients in Canada.

Funding for this program is being provided through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in partnership with The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Canadian Blood Services, Canadian Liver Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé and Genome British Columbia.

"The transplant and donation communities across Canada have come together to create a truly unique collective research program that will foster innovation, creativity and collaboration in new ways that will increase our ultimate effectiveness" said Dr. Lori West, Director of the CNTRP and Professor of Pediatrics, Surgery and Immunology at the University of Alberta. "This integration will improve donation and transplant programs across the country and will impact the lives of transplant patients and those awaiting transplant".

The CNTRP brings together over 105 investigators across 9 provinces. The program will transform the field of transplantation by addressing the barriers to donation therefore increasing the number of available organs, improving the quality and viability of donated organs and grafts, and enhancing long-term survival and quality of life of transplant patients. The CNTRP is the first program in the world to unite and integrate the solid organ transplant, bone marrow transplant and the donation and critical care research communities together in a groundbreaking national research endeavour.

Read the Canadian Institutes of Health Research press release:
http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/46632.html

Alberta Researchers Receive Top Achievement in Health Research Award

March 18, 2013 – Three researchers well known to The Kidney Foundation - Drs. Brenda Hemmelgarn and Braden Manns from the University of Calgary, and their colleague Dr. Marcello Tonelli from the University of Alberta – were among those chosen to receive the prestigious CIHR-CMAJ Top Canadian Achievements in Health Research Award.
Marcello Tonelli (left), Brenda Hemmelgarn (center), Braden Manns (right)
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) host the annual competition to highlight achievements that have had a substantial impact on the health and well-being of Canadians and others worldwide. Recipients are selected by a peer-review panel of Canadian and international.

"As Canada's primary funder of health research, CIHR is very proud to partner with the CMAJ in recognizing the talent, leadership and dedication to excellence of these individuals, whose work has helped position this country at the forefront of medicine and health worldwide," said Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of CIHR. "I also applaud the emphasis they have placed on translating new knowledge into meaningful measures that make a real difference in people's lives."

Drs. Brenda Hemmelgarn, Braden Manns and Marcello Tonelli co-lead the Interdisciplinary Chronic Disease Collaboration (ICDC). Their research and knowledge translation activities helped realize great improvements in the treatments of hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and vascular disease. Since 2010, the collaboration has published more than 38 peer-reviewed articles, including important research on the prognostic significance of proteinuria as an inexpensive predictor of risk in patients with chronic kidney disease.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada is a proud supporter of excellence in health research and is honoured to have Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn as a board member of its Southern Alberta branch, and to support the following research initiatives from Drs. Manns and Tonelli through funding from its KRESCENT program:

Dr. Braden Manns:
The CAnadian KidNey KNowledge Translation and Generation NETwork (CANN-NET)

Dr. Marcello Tonelli:
Relation between residence location, care quality and adverse outcomes in people with proteinuric kidney disease”, (2011 – 2013)

For more information on research funded by The Kidney Foundation, visit www.kidney.ca/research and www.krescent.ca.

 

Kidney Foundation of Canada Helps Fund World’s First Gene Therapy Clinical Trial for Fabry Disease

January 24, 2013 - Canadian researchers, led by Dr. Jeffrey Medin, are launching the world’s first gene therapy clinical trial for Fabry disease. A rare genetic disease due to a deficiency, or the absence, of an enzyme that breaks down fatty material in the body, Fabry disease affects many organ systems. Kidney complications in Fabry Disease are common and serious. End-Stage Renal Disease typically occurs in the third decade of life and is a leading cause of death.

Gene therapy introduces corrective factors to address deficiencies caused by abnormal or absent genes. The clinical trial being led by Dr. Medin builds on his gene therapy research in experimental animal models. In gene therapy, a patient’s stem cells are removed from the blood. Then, a working copy of a new gene (with a working enzyme) is inserted into the stem cells and transplanted back into the patient. In this way, the corrective biological catalyst or enzyme  will circulate in the body. 

“Funding innovative research that reduces the burden of kidney disease was one of the founding purpose of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. Today, our support of this cutting edge clinical trial demonstrates our commitment to research that can lead to treatment breakthroughs for people living with kidney disease, regardless of its root cause. We are honored to be among the supporters of this work and will continue to finance kidney-related research whether the disease is manifested as a chronic disease, cancer, acute kidney damage, or a result of genetic factors such as Fabry disease,” says Dr. Julian Midgley, National President of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “We also recognize that stem cell research is particularly critical to providing hope for better treatment options to kidney patients.”

Download the press release from Alberta Health Services

First-of-Its-Kind Canadian Project to Chart the Future of Dialysis Research

November 29, 2012 – Do you have an unanswered question about your dialysis management?  If so, a team of Canadian researchers in tandem with patients and caregivers, is conducting the first survey of its kind ever made available to Canadians, and they would like to hear from you. Whether you’re undergoing dialysis treatment, or a person involved in the care of someone on dialysis, you can have your say in helping to chart the future of dialysis research. All submissions are welcome online at www.kidney.ca/dialysissurvey. The survey remains open until Dec. 31st, 2012.

UPDATE: The survey will remain open until January 15, 2013

Dr. Andreas Laupacis, Canada Research Chair in Health Policy and Citizen Engagement, is spearheading a Canadian first in association with the James Lind Alliance (JLA), an independent, non-profit organization from the United Kingdom. JLA has pioneered the approach of bringing together patients, caregivers and clinicians to identify the “top 10 unanswered questions” about treatments that patients would like to see addressed.

“As a person on dialysis, you experience kidney failure treatment firsthand; and it is important that you have a say into the type of research that is done to improve quality of care,” says Dr. Laupacis. “Furthermore, if you have helped someone on dialysis, or are currently supporting someone through the treatment, you may have questions that will resonate with others.” All questions are welcome, be they about the kinds of dialysis treatment, dialysis access, medications, diet, the treatment of symptoms, or lifestyle issues. Questions can be submitted by following the on-screen instructions at www.kidney.ca/dialysissurvey. Participants can submit as many questions as they want. It should only take about 10 minutes; and responses will remain anonymous.

The Chronic Dialysis Patient Survey project is made possible through the support of the Canadian Kidney Knowledge Translation and Generation Network (www.cann-net.ca), the James Lind Alliance (www.lindalliance.org) and The Kidney Foundation of Canada (www.kidney.ca). “This project is an excellent example of how we at The Kidney Foundation work in partnership with innovative leaders to ensure that world-class research is carried out. Projects such as these make it possible for researchers to explore questions of relevance to the people most affected by a specific area of study, in this case dialysis,” says Wim Wolfs, National Director of Research for The Kidney Foundation of Canada and member of the project’s Steering Committee.

The project’s eleven person Steering Committee, which includes an equal number of dialysis patients and researchers, is made up of: Michael Gladish (Yukon), Claire Large (Alberta), Brenda Toth (Saskatchewan) and Howard Silverman (Quebec), who are either on dialysis, close to needing dialysis or who have had a transplant; Annette Cyr, a caregiver of someone on dialysis (Nova Scotia); Brenda Hemmelgarn and Braden Manns, who are nephrologists and researchers from the University of Calgary (Alberta); Sally Crowe, from the James Lind Alliance, Oxford, U.K.; Wim Wolfs, National Director of Research at The Kidney Foundation of Canada; Andreas Laupacis, a physician and researcher from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto; Erin Lillie, a research associate from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Download the full press release (pdf)

 

Lead Investigator on Landmark Walkerton Health Study Awarded 2012 Medal for Research Excellence

November 15, 2012 – Dr. William Clark, the lead investigator of Canada’s landmark Walkerton Health Study, has been awarded the 2012 Kidney Foundation of Canada Medal for Research Excellence. Distinguished in many areas of medicine and nephrology, Dr. Clark has gained international recognition for his observational studies, randomized clinical trials and treatment of kidney patients. Most recently, he has gained world-wide attention for his work examining the increased risks of initiating dialysis treatment early.

Dr. Clark’s career as a clinician-scientist spans over three decades. He has focused on studies aimed at preventing or slowing progressive kidney disease. His work has explored many issues, including the role of platelets in kidney injury resulting from diseases of the immune system such as lupus nephritis or glomerulonephritis. He also studied the application of plasma (blood) exchange and dialysis to improve the treatment and health of people suffering from kidney injury.  

“Dr. Clark is frequently consulted to develop protocols for identification, management and follow-up of persons exposed to contaminated water,” says Dr. Louise Moist, Professor of Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine University of Western Ontario. “The body of literature created from the Walkerton Health Study will provide ongoing evidence of the need for screening to identify the health risks after such an outbreak and ways to prevent severe impacts through early treatment.”

Currently, Dr. Clark is initiating a randomized control trial that will assess the role of increased water intake on slowing the progression of the loss of kidney function in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease. It is based on his 7 year longitudinal study in Walkerton. He is Co-chair of the Canadian Society of Nephrology’s guidelines committee on early initiation of dialysis and of the Research Council of The Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Dr. Clark was recently awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for his charitable work, which notably includes initiating and managing two different major fundraisers as well as being Honorary Cabinet Member (Ontario) of The Kidney Foundation’s New Challenge Campaign.

For more details on Dr. William Clark's career visit www.kidney.ca/research/MRE

Download the full press release

New Drug Shows Hope for ADPKD Treatment

November 11, 2012 - Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is the most commonly inherited disease of the kidneys, yet there are few known effective treatments. Results of a Phase III Clinical Trial presented at the November 2012 American Society of Nephrology (ASN) annual meeting indicate the tide may be turning.

In ADPKD, many cysts form in the kidney, becoming large and fluid-filled. Over time, pressure from these cysts slowly damages kidney tissue. Painful and often causing hypertension, ADPKD leads to end-stage kidney disease (renal failure) in 50% of diagnosed cases.

Early studies indicated that V2-receptor antagonists can prevent cyst growth and slow the deterioration of kidney function. The V2-receptor antagonists are a form of treatment which targets vasopressin, a hormone that enables water absorption by the kidney and plays an important role in proper hydration. When present in high levels, however, vasopressin can cause high blood pressure.

At the most recent ASN meeting, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. announced encouraging clinical trial results for tolvaptan, a drug that works through the V2- receptor. Tolvaptan showed a decline in kidney cyst growth, a slowed decline in kidney function, and reduced risk of hypertension. Participants receiving tolvaptan, however, did report discontinuing treatment due to adverse events, such as excessive thirst related to aquaresis (increased urination that does not affect the body’s electrolyte metabolism), and other side effects unrelated to the regular symptoms of ADPKD.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada has funded research related to the V2-receptor by Drs. Bichet and Bouvier. Dr. Daniel Bichet, a recipient of the Foundation’s Medal for Research Excellence, is a nephrologists at Montreal’s Sacré-Cœur Hospital and at the Université de Montréal.  Dr. Michel Bouvier is a Principal Investigator with the Université de Montréal’s Immunology and Cancer Research Institute.

New England Journal of Medicine article on the clinical trial:
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1205511?query=OF#t=article

New Findings Debunk Long-Held Theory that Kidney Disease is Part of the Normal Aging Process

November 12, 2012 - Recent findings from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Chronic Kidney Disease Prognosis Consortium, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, note that a higher risk of death was associated with chronic kidney disease and its complications, regardless of age. The expansive study, involving 178 collaborating researchers and including data spanning nearly four decades (1972-2011) from more than 2 million ethnically-diverse participants the world over, debunks the theory that development of chronic kidney disease is a regular part of the aging process.

Data has shown that the prevalence of CKD increases with age. For years, researchers have wondered whether this was just part of the normal course of aging. There was even consideration being given to  revisiting the definition of CKD (i.e. the presence of kidney damage, or a decreased level of kidney function, for a period of three months or more).

Researchers also wondered if risk factors associated with CKD were likely to increase with age. After analyzing the data from the global study, researchers concluded that chronic kidney disease and its complications are linked to increased risks, including death, independent of a person’s age. Therefore, strategies to diminish the risk of disease and enhance treatment of those affected should remain a priority regardless of age.

Canadian researchers involved in the study, and who have been supported by The Kidney Foundation, are:

  • Marcello Tonelli (University of Alberta, Edmonton)
  • Adeera Levin (University of British Columbia/St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver)
  • Brenda Hemmelgarn (University of Calgary, Alberta)
  • Matthew James (University of Calgary, Alberta)
  • Navdeep Tangri (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg)

A review of the research is available at:  
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031142011.htm

 

The Kidney Foundation of Canada partners with Kidney Cancer Canada and Government to support national research network

October 9, 2012 – A new national network dedicated to improving the care and management of kidney cancer patients in Canada has been launched today. This network has received funding through a partnership between The Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Kidney Cancer Canada.

“We enthusiastically support the network,” said Paul Shay, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “It is a logical continuation of Horizons 2015, a process in which The Kidney Foundation and other key stakeholders identified network building as crucial to bringing laboratory findings forward to the point of positively impacting patient care.”

From left to right: Mr. Paul Shay, Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz, Dr. Michael Jewett, Dr. Colin Carrie,
Ms. Deb Maskens, Ms. Catherine Madden. 

The network, led by Dr. Michael Jewett at the University Health Network in Toronto, will bring together kidney cancer survivors, expert health care providers and researchers from across Canada.  The goal is to improve the care and treatment provided to kidney cancer patients through national collaboration on research strategies, clinical trials, and the use of resources. While the network aims to improve care for kidney cancer patients in Canada, it has the potential to serve as a model for other types of cancers and strengthen the health care system overall by working together in research.

Read the press release from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Download the CIHR fact sheet: “Kidney Cancer Research Network”

For more information please contact:

Wim Wolfs
National Director of Research
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Tel.: 514-531-2212
wim.wolfs@kidney.ca

People who get kidney stones are twice as likely to develop kidney failure: U of A medical research

September 6, 2012 - People who have had kidney stones are twice as likely to need dialysis or a kidney transplant later in life, demonstrates recently published findings by medical researchers at the University of Alberta. Their article was recently published in the British Medical Journal.

Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry researchers Todd Alexander and Marcello Tonelli tracked data of more than three million Albertans over an 11-year period from 1997 to 2009. They discovered those with a history of kidney stones were twice as likely to have serious kidney problems later in life when compared to people who had never suffered from kidney stones. And women under the age of 50 who had a history of kidney stones were four times as likely to later develop kidney failure. Although the actual number of those who developed kidney failure was small, the link to having a history of kidney stones was noteworthy.

“I think what these results tell me, is that we should be screening those with a history of kidney stones for risk factors for the development of kidney disease,” says Dr. Alexander, the study’s first author and a practising pediatric nephrologist.

“I am not surprised by these findings because when you are passing a stone through a kidney, there is definitely the potential for permanent damage.”

Based on their findings, between five and seven per cent of Albertans will develop a kidney stone in their lifetime, says Dr. Alexander. The data is more alarming in the United States where 10 to 11 per cent of the population develops kidney stones. Half of those who get kidney stones will have a reoccurrence – anywhere from one to several more episodes.

“It’s important to note that the vast majority of people with kidney stones won’t develop permanent kidney damage,” adds Dr. Tonelli. “But a few will, and that’s why it’s important for people with stones to get proper follow-up care – to reduce their risk of another stone, and to detect kidney damage if it has occurred.”

People could try to decrease the likelihood of the development of kidney stones by decreasing their sodium intake, drinking more water and, if needed, taking certain medication. It has been previously observed that those who develop kidney stones have kidneys that don’t function at optimal levels, which is a factor in the whole issue. 

Dr. Alexander is a researcher in the Department of Physiology and the Department of Pediatrics, while Dr. Tonelli holds a Canada Research Chair in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Nephrology.

The primary funders of the research were: The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions, the University Hospital Foundation, and the KRESCENT program (a training and support program for kidney research scientists).

“We are proud to support outstanding and innovative research that helps us to improve our understanding of the possible risk factors for developing kidney failure,” said Wim Wolfs, National Director of Research of The Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Drs. Alexander and Tonelli are continuing their research in kidney health.

View the article in Nephrology News & Issues

What is your lifetime risk of developing kidney failure?

Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn and colleagues from the University of Calgary and University of Alberta published a study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology that examined the lifetime risk of developing End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Lifetime risk is the probability of someone developing a disease during their remaining lifespan.

 “We do have estimates for the prevalence and incidence of End Stage Renal Disease and this tells us something about the burden of disease”, stated Dr. Hemmelgarn, “but lifetime risk may give more information to the general public and policy-makers.”

 They studied close to three million adult Alberta residents who were free of kidney failure at the start of the study in 1997 to 2008.

Major findings:

  • A 40-year-old man with no ESRD has a lifetime risk of developing ESRD of 2.66%. This approximates 1 in 40 men.
  • A 40-year-old woman with no ESRD has a lifetime risk of developing ESRD of 1.76%. This approximates 1 in 60 women.
  • Risks were higher in people with reduced kidney function (men 7.51% and women 3.21%).

 The following study co-authors are receiving research funding from The Kidney Foundation of Canada: Marcello Tonelli (Biomedical Research Grant 2011 – 2013), Braden Manns (CANN-NET Research Network 2011 – 2014), Matthew James (KRESCENT New Investigator Award, 2012 – 2015) and Brenda Hemmelgarn (The Roy and Vi Baay Research Chair in Kidney Disease, 2011 – 2016).

 “This is an important study,” says Wim Wolfs, National Director of Research of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “The Kidney Foundation is interested in a better understanding of the risks and burden of kidney disease. The study demonstrates the lifetime risk in an easily understandable index that can be communicated to patients, health professionals and policy makers. The Kidney Foundation is proud to have supported the development of these excellent researchers.”

For more information on The Kidney Foundation of Canada or the KRESCENT Program, contact Wim Wolfs, National Director Research 514-531-2212 (cell.) or wim.wolfs@kidney.ca.

View the article in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

View this recent article on CBC News 

Diets high in salt deplete calcium in the body

July 25, 2012 - The scientific community has always wanted to know why people who eat high-salt diets are prone to developing medical problems such as kidney stones and osteoporosis. Medical researchers at the University of Alberta may have solved this puzzle.

Principal investigator Todd Alexander and his team recently discovered an important link between sodium and calcium. These both appear to be regulated by the same molecule in the body. When sodium intake becomes too high, the body gets rid of sodium via the urine, taking calcium with it, which depletes calcium stores in the body. High levels of calcium in the urine lead to the development of kidney stones, while inadequate levels of calcium in the body lead to thin bones and osteoporosis.

Todd Alexander

“When the body tries to get rid of sodium via the urine, our findings suggest the body also gets rid of calcium at the same time,” says Alexander, a Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry researcher whose findings were recently published in the peer-reviewed journal American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology.

“This is significant because we are eating more and more sodium in our diets, which means our bodies are getting rid of more and more calcium. Our findings reinforce why it is important to have a low-sodium diet and why it is important to have lower sodium levels in processed foods.”

It’s been known for a long time that this important molecule was responsible for sodium absorption in the body, but the discovery that it also plays a role in regulating calcium levels is new.

“We asked a simple question with our research – could sodium and calcium absorption be linked? And we discovered they are,” says Alexander.

“We found a molecule that seems to have two jobs – regulating the levels of both calcium and sodium in the body. Our findings provide very real biological evidence that this relationship between sodium and calcium is real and linked.”

In their research, the team worked with lab models that didn’t have this important molecule, so the models’ urine contained high levels of calcium. Because calcium was not absorbed and retained by the body, bones became thin.

A journal editorial written about this research discovery noted the molecule could be a drug target to one day “treat kidney stones and osteoporosis.”

The primary funder of the research was the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

“We are proud to support the research of Dr. Todd Alexander,” said Wim Wolfs, National Director of Research of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “Data in the United States shows that nearly 10% of adults will have a kidney stone at least once in their life. The prevalence of kidney stones also seems to be increasing in the U.S., which may be attributed to high rates of obesity and diabetes, along with possibly increased salt intake.”

View the research publication in the American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology

View recent coverage of this publication in The Globe and Mail

 

Kidney Foundation Among Partners in $10 Million Transplant Research Investment

During a celebratory event to welcome home Ottawa resident Hélène Campbell, transplant recipient and organ donation activist, the Honourable Leona Aglukkag, Minister of Health, used the opportunity to announce an investment of $ 10 million for transplant research.

“The Kidney Foundation enthusiastically supports the investment in transplantation research,” said Wim Wolfs, National Director of Research of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “It is a logical continuation of Horizons 2015, a process in which The Kidney Foundation and other key stakeholders identified network building as crucial to bringing laboratory findings forward to the point of positively impacting organ donation and transplantation.”

“We congratulate Hélène upon her return to Ottawa following her double-lung transplant,” said Paul Shay, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “Through months of passionate activity on social media and in the mainstream press, Hélène has had a tremendously positive impact on the public interest in organ donation.”

Read the Federal Government press release: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/_2012/2012-114-eng.php

Should You Donate a Kidney to a Relative or Someone in the Community?

May 29, 2012 – In a recent article in Le Devoir, Dr. Marie-Chantal Fortin, a nephrologist on Notre-Dame Hospital’s transplant team and recent KRESCENT fellowship recipient, considered the ethical issues surrounding the recruitment of compatible donor-recipient pairs for Canada’s Living Donor Paired Exchange (LDPE) kidney registry, which is coordinated by Canadian Blood Services.

Marie-Chantal Fortin, M.D.

Dre. Marie-Chantal Fortin
CRCHUM - Hôpital Notre-Dame

Dr. Fortin’s research project weighs the ethical issues surrounding the recruitment of compatible donor-recipient pairs to come up with a set of ethical guidelines to govern the practice.

Read the full article (in French only), Donner un de ses reins à un proche parent ou à la collectivité ? Le dilemme. at LeDevoir.com.






Kidney ‘attack’ could help define acute kidney injury

May 15, 2012 – In a recently published Viewpoint in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Drs. Kellum, Bellomo and Ronco argued for increased public awareness of acute kidney injury (AKI) and the need for increased research.

AKI is not well known to clinicians and researchers and barely known by the public. KRESCENT New Investigator Dr. Jean-Philippe Lafrance (Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montreal) said “the incidence of AKI is between 1.8 to 5.2 per 1,000 population, which is similar to acute myocardial infection. Mortality associated with certain forms of AKI is higher than for acute myocardial infarction despite that supportive therapies, such as dialysis, are available.”

The authors argue that research funding needs to be directed to AKI and there is a need for a campaign to increase the general public’s awareness. Like heart attack, they suggest the introduction of the term ‘kidney attack’ to help the general public, and physicians, visualize what is happening during AKI.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada is proud to support the training and research of AKI researchers through the KRESCENT Program.

Dr. Jean-Philippe Lafrance - Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montreal

  • KRESCENT Post-Doctoral Fellowship   2007 – 2009
  • KRESCENT New Investigator Award   2010 – 2013

Article in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation: Incidence and outcomes of acute kidney injury in a referred chronic kidney disease cohort

Dr. Matthew James – University of Calgary

  • KRESCENT Post-Doctoral Fellowship   2006 – 2009

Article in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: Weekend Hospital Admission, Acute Kidney Injury, and Mortality

Dr. Michael Walsh – McMaster University, Hamilton

  • KRESCENT Post-Doctoral Fellowship   2006 – 2009
  • KRESCENT New Investigator Award   2011 – 2014

Article in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: Statin Use Associates with a Lower Incidence of Acute Kidney Injury after Major Elective Surgery

Dr. Michele Zappitelli – Montreal Children’s Hospital

  • KRESCENT Post-Doctoral Fellowship   2005 – 2007
  • KRESCENT New Investigator Award   2008 – 2011
    (co-funded with Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé)

Article in Critical Care Medicine: Protein and calorie prescription for children and young adults receiving continuous renal replacement therapy: a report from the Prospective Pediatric Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy Registry Group.

New Research Initiative on Rare Kidney Disease Announced

March 1, 2012 - The Kidney Foundation of Canada is pleased to be partnering with the CIHR on an important new research initiative focused on rare diseases. “  The Fabry disease project is a translational research that could see new therapies becoming available sooner to patients in the clinical setting,” says Wim Wolfs, National Director of Research for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “The Kidney Foundation’s interest in supporting research in rare kidney diseases is further underscored by our launch, just last week, of a research competition specially focused on Alport Syndrome.”

Wim Wolfs, National Director of Research for The Kidney Foundation, stands with Canadian rare disease research advocates.

Wim Wolfs, National Director of Research for The Kidney Foundation,
stands with Canadian rare disease research advocates.


For more information on the medical value of research on rare diseases, we recommend reading the following articles in the journal Nature:

"The Great Beyond"
"Rare diseases: Genomics, plain and simple"

Read the news release (pdf)

New Research Report on E. coli Early Protective Treatment

January 20, 2012 - A recently published study by Dr. Philip Marsden and colleagues, including KRESCENT Post Doctoral Fellow (2008 – 2011) Dr. Darren Yuen, in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) sheds new light on the relationship between harmful bacteria, like E. coli, and kidney failure.

Dr. William Clark, Scientific Co-Chair of The Kidney Foundation’s Research Council and lead investigator, Research and Operations of the Walkerton study (2002 – 2009) says, “Dr. Marsden's report is very exciting news and potentially of great value in both identifying and treating those who suffer blood vessel injury due to the E. coli toxin. Almost all of the serious long-term effects we detected and treated in the Walkerton study were due to blood vessel injury and the opportunity to identify those at risk and provide a potential early protective treatment is a very important step forward.”

The Kidney Foundation is proud to support excellent Canadian researchers such as Dr. Darren Yuen, through the KRESCENT Program.

For more information on the KRESCENT Program or The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s research initiatives, contact Wim Wolfs, National Director Research at (514) 531-2212 (cell) or by email at wim.wolfs@kidney.ca.

View the research publication in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (pdf)

View recent coverage of this publication in The Calgary Sun




Leading Pediatric Nephrologist Dr. Norman Rosenblum Awarded 2011 Medal for Research Excellence

November 11, 2011 – For his internationally recognized research in the area of pediatric nephrology, his outstanding role as a clinician scientist and his leadership in mentoring Canada’s next generation of kidney researchers, Dr. Norman Rosenblum has been awarded The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s 2011 Medal for Research Excellence. Each year, The Kidney Foundation presents The Medal for Research Excellence to a Canadian researcher whose work is deemed by peers as having improved the treatment and care of people living with kidney disease.

“Outstanding clinician scientists are able to identify problems in the field when working with patients and also have the skill set to address the issues in a research laboratory setting,” says Wim Wolfs, National Director of Research for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “Dr. Rosenblum is without question an outstanding clinician scientist.”

Dr. Norman Rosenblum accepts the 2011 Medal for Research Excellence 


Dr. Rosenblum’s research work is focused on studying malformations which occur during development of the kidney and urinary tract. Poorly understood, these abnormalities result in a whole family of diseases that are the leading cause of childhood renal failure. Yet, his laboratory has provided important new insights. Specifically, they have succeeded in genetically modifying the function of a number of critical protein pathways, which in turn affect the work of key cells. By manipulating the amount of intercellular communication or “signaling” in these pathways, his research team has generated mouse models that replicate human problems. The malformations appear in a number of ways, from anomalies in the number of kidney filters (nephrons) and the integrity of kidney tissue to the swelling of the kidney or urinary tract (a condition known as hydronephrosis). Investigating the roles of signaling pathways in their particular context during the actual process of kidney development is vital, providing unprecedented knowledge and understanding of the function of specific genes and the genesis of specific diseases. This can potentially lead to novel treatment of the disease itself and improved health for patients.

A patient-centered researcher, Dr. Rosenblum is also a much sought-after mentor. For the past 10 years he has been the Principal Investigator of an interdisciplinary program that trains clinician-scientists in the field of child health in Canada. The principles of the program, which links 17 universities across the country in 7 child health disciplines, have served as a model for others. “Dr. Rosenblum’s launching of the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program was instrumental in helping to shape the Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training Program founded by The Kidney Foundation and multiple partners in 2005,” says Dr. Kevin Burns, last year’s recipient of the Medal for Research Excellence and Program Director of the kidney-focused, researcher training program known as KRESCENT.

Kathryn Richardson, National President of The Kidney Foundation, was delighted to present Dr. Rosenblum with the Medal for Research Excellence. “Dr. Rosenblum was a member of the team when my son had a kidney transplant at 16 years of age. The operation went well, but we had several tense weeks afterwards as his body tried repeatedly to reject the kidney. Dr. Rosenblum took time to make a special visit to us, offering calm support and encouragement. I will never forget that moment.”

To learn more about Dr. Rosenblum’s work, his research teams and how the revolution in genetics has impacted kidney disease research, visit www.kidney.ca/researchexcellence.

Download the full press release

Nobel in Medicine Awarded for Immune System Discoveries

October 3, 2011 - Three scientists, including Canadian Dr. Ralph Steinman who passed away three days ago, have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for discoveries relating to the immune system.

In 1973, Dr. Steinman discovered a new cell, the dendritic cell, which has the unique capacity to activate T-cells. These latter cells play an important role in adaptive immunity, when antibodies and killer cells fight infections; and help the immune system to mobilize its defences the next time it comes under a similar attack.

"Dr. Steinman’s work – and the recent recognition for it - speaks to the importance of funding innovative research and supporting researchers early in their career, roles which The Kidney Foundation undertakes with pride," says Dr. William Clark (Chair of the Foundation’s Research Council).

The Kidney Foundation of Canada has funded kidney research on the role of dendritic cells in transplantation and IgA Nephropathy. Examples included;

  • Dr. K. West at Dalhousie University
    • Characterization of swine dendritic cell - human T cell interactions – 1999 – 2001
    • The dendritic cell cytoskeleton and the immunological synapse – 2001 – 2003
    • The immunological synapse between dendritic cells and CD8+ T cells – 2003 - 2005
    • Dendritic cell Vav1 in allograft rejection – 2005 – 2007
  • Dr. R. Liwski at Dalhousie University
    • Modification of mature dendritic function by lymph node stromal cells 2007 – 2009
  • Dr. J. Gommerman at University of Toronto
    • Evaluating the relationship between gut immune cell homeostasis and pathogenic immune complex deposition in the kidney in mice over-expressing BAFF - 2008 - 2010


Link to Globe and Mail article "Canadian Nobel winner can keep prize, officials decide": http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canadian-nobel-prize-winner-died-days-before-award-announcement/article2188491/

Link to video with Dr. Ralph Steinman on research funding:
http://www.globecampus.ca/videos/features/gairdner-awards-steinman/?from=2188491

Link to New York Times article "Canadian-Born Scientist Dies 3 Days Before Winning Nobel Prize in Medicine": http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/10/03/world/AP-Nobel-Medicine.html?hp

Link to Nature News article "Nobel announcement marred by winner's death":
http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111005/full/478013a.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20111006

Gut Microbes Linked to Kidney Disease

Researchers have uncovered a possible cause of an inflammatory kidney disease that can lead to kidney failure.

The team of researchers, co-led by Dr. Jeffrey Browning at Biogen Idec, Cambridge, and Prof. Jennifer Gommerman (Dept. of Immunology) at the University of Toronto in collaboration with Dr. Lea Novak and colleagues from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, has found that IgA nephropathy could be linked to an overzealous IgA response against micro-organisms that normally live in the gut.

The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, offer a new line of research into what may trigger the disease, which can lead to kidney failure and is the most common form of glomerulonephritis (inflammation of small blood vessels in the kidney) worldwide.

Individuals with IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, have kidneys that leak blood and sometimes protein into the urine. The condition is caused by the inappropriate accumulation of IgA, an antibody that helps rid the body of microbes, in the kidneys. However, it is not known what causes IgA to accumulate in the kidneys.

The research team found that in a model with over expression of a molecule called BAFF (also known as BLyS) develop IgA nephropathy in a manner that depends on the immune response to particular gut micro-organisms called commensal flora. If those micro-organisms are eliminated, many features of the disease disappear. In providing clues to the etiology of IgA nephropathy, the research may lead to insights on how to treat the disease.

The study was funded by The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Institutes of Health.

View the article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation

First Dialysis Patients to Successfully Receive Lab Grown Vessels
July 5, 2011 - Dr. Todd McAllister recently presented cutting edge research showing that human blood vessels grown in a laboratory from donor skin cells can be successfully implanted into patients. Dr. McAllister and his team, which includes Canadian Dr. Nicolas L’Heureux (PhD Laval University, Quebec), showed that the patients who received implants did not develop immune reaction up to eight months after implementation. This research, highlighted in a webinar by the American Heart Association Emerging Science Serie, is the first step towards having a bank of blood vessels in various shapes and sizes that may address a costly and vexing problem in dialysis patients: the failure of blood vessels.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada is a proud supporter of innovative science, and is currently funding research in the Design, fabrication and characterization of a nanotechnology based wearable artificial kidney led by Morteza Ahmadi, KRESCENT Allied Health Doctoral Award (funded by The Kidney Foundation of Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada).

For more information on The Kidney Foundation of Canada Research Program, visit www.kidney.ca/research and www.krescent.ca.

Watch the webinar from The American Heart Association Emerging Science Series

Download the news release from The American Heart Association

Read the Globe and Mail article, Dialysis patients receive first blood vessels grown in a lab

View the Medical News article, Tissue-engineered blood vessels from donor skin cells successfully implanted in patients


Needed: Population-Wide Sodium Reduction to Prevent Blood Pressure Related Diseases such as Cardiovascular and Kidney Diseases
May 26, 2011 – In an article published recently in its journal Circulation, the American Heart Association (AHA) reiterated the importance of population-wide sodium reduction to help prevent blood pressure related diseases such as stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure and kidney disease. There is a large body of evidence that links sodium intake with elevated blood pressure and individuals, healthcare providers, organizations, governments and industry are called on to address this major public health issue.

Dr. Joanne Kappel, nephrologist and chair of The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Public Policy Council, notes that sodium reduction is particularly important for people with kidney disease because it can "improve blood pressure, decrease the incidence of kidney stones, improve action from blood pressure medications and help reduce cramping/improve comfort for people on hemodialysis."

For more information on the AHA call to action on population-wide sodium reduction, view the article at http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/CIR.0b013e31820d0793

The Kidney Foundation of Canada is proud to support the following research into hypertension or sodium-related kidney disease:

Role of epidermal growth factor ligands in microparticle signaling during hypertension,
Dylan Burger, KRESCENT Post Doctoral Fellowship 2009 – 2012.

KRESCENT Fellow proposes a new model to predict CKD progression

A study published in the April 11, 2011, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), by Dr. Navdeep Tangri and colleagues, proposes a new model to predict progression of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), one that is based on standard laboratory tests.

There are an estimated 2.6 million Canadians who have kidney disease, or at risk. This number can be considered too high to effectively monitor and treat using the currently accepted five stage, chronic kidney disease classification system.  Dr. Tangri and his colleagues consider that a better prediction model for identifying those people at the highest risk of developing CKD would be a tremendous step forward for kidney patients, health care professionals and the Canadian health system.

The Kidney Foundation is proud to support excellent Canadian researchers such as Dr. Navdeep Tangri, through the KRESCENT program.

For more information on the KRESCENT Program or The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s research initiatives, contact Wim Wolfs, National Director Research at (514) 531-2212 (cell) or by email at wim.wolfs@kidney.ca.

View the article in the Journal of the American Medical Association
http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/305/15/1553.abstract

Survival in Pediatric Dialysis and Transplant Patients in Canada

The Pediatric Renal Outcomes Canada Group (PROCG), a group of Canadian nephrologists led by Dr. Susan Samuel from the University of Calgary, has published a study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN, March 2011), describing the long-term survival of children with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and the risk factors for death.

The PROCG studied data from a national organ failure registry and administrative data from Canada’s universal healthcare system for 843 ESRD patients, aged 0-18 years, in nine Canadian provinces from 1992 to 2007.

The researchers discovered that the most common cause for ESRD in pediatric patients was congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract. The main causes of death were cardiac events, infections, cancer, social (drugs, alcohol, suicide, treatment refusal) and other (respiratory, gastrointestinal, strokes). The 5-year survival rate was 92% and 10-year survival rate was 86%.

The research team, however, did not find an improvement in survival for renal transplant patients over the course of the 15 year time period studied. They called for further studies in causes and mechanisms of death, threats to transplant function (such as the BK virus), and tailored immunosuppression therapy for pediatric patients.

“Even though we have made remarkable progress in the treatment of pediatric kidney disease, this study underscores that we still need to answer many more complex questions to ensure the best possible health outcomes,” says Paul Shay, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Link to article: http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/content/early/2011/03/10/CJN.04920610.abstract

The Kidney Foundation of Canada is proud to support the following research into pediatric kidney disease:

  • Dr. Todd Alexander: Molecular Mechanisms Mediating Coordinated Proximal Tubular Sodium, Calcium, Bicarbonate and Water Absorption (KRESCENT New Investigator Award, 2009–2012) (Only available in English)
  • Dr. Françoise Le Deist: Nouveaux outils de pharmacodynamie dans le but d'optimiser la prescription d'immunosuppresseurs chez les enfants vivant avec un rein transplanté (Biomedical Research Grant, 2010–2012) (Only available in French)
  • Dr. David Nicholas: Examining transition from child to adult care in chronic kidney disease (Allied Health Research Grant, 2010–2012) (Only available in English)
  • Dr. Susan Samuel: Health care utilization during transition from childhood to adulthood in pediatric end-stage renal disease patients (Biomedical Research Grant, 2010–2012) (Only available in English)

 

Home-based peritoneal dialysis can be an effective option when a transplant fails

January 14, 2011  - The Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN) published a study by Dr. Jeffrey Perl and colleagues reporting that patients returning to dialysis after kidney transplant failure did equally well on home-based peritoneal dialysis as on hemodialysis. The researchers studied over 2,000 adult Canadian patients who started dialyis after kidney transplant failure between January 1991 and December 2005.

Dr. Perl was funded by a Kidney Foundation of Canada Biomedical Fellowship (2008 – 2010) under the supervision of Dr. Vanita Jassal.

View the abstract in Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

Download the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) press release

View the article with François-René Dussault, a Peer Support Program Volunteer with The Kidney Foundation of Canada, in the Ottawa Citizen

Poor Response to Anti-Anemia Drug Predicts Higher Risk of Heart Disease or Death
January 7, 2011 - In late 2010, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that patients with diabetes, kidney disease and anemia who did not respond to treatment with the anti-anemia drug, darbepoetin alpha, had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease or death than those who did respond to the anemia drug.

The Trial to Reduce Cardiovascular Events with Aranesp* Therapy (TREAT) included 4,038  participants (176 Canadians from clinical centres across the country). Dr. Patrick Parfrey, the 2002 recipient of The Kidney Foundation of Canada's Medal for Research Excellence, was a member of the TREAT Executive Committee.   

To read more on the study, visit http://nephronline.com

*darbepoetin alpha is the generic name for Aranesp

KRESCENT Post-Doctoral Fellow Publishes in The Lancet
January 7, 2011 - Findings published in the Dec. 2010 issue of the prestigious English medical journal, The Lancet, by Dr. Mathew James and colleagues of the Alberta Kidney Disease Network (AKDN) underscored the importance of using the estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR) along with proteinuria to identify people at risk of acute kidney injury. Proteinuria is the presence of high protein levels in the urine and eGFR is a measurement of the kidney’s ability to filter waste products. Used together, they are invaluable indicators of kidney health or disease.

Acute kidney injury, leading to negative short-and long-term health outcomes, is common and yet, preventable.  In his study, Dr. James notes that “people who have had an episode of acute kidney injury, can have persistent kidney function loss and have an increased risk to develop end-stage renal disease”.

This study, funded by the Interdisciplinary Chronic Disease Collaboration (ICDC), is based on information culled from more than 900,000 adults in a province-wide (Alberta) database.

The Alberta Kidney Disease Network (AKDN) published an earlier study pronouncing the importance of eGFR and proteinuria in the identification and management of chronic kidney disease.

The Kidney Foundation is proud to support excellent Canadian researchers, such as Dr. James, through the KRESCENT program and has dedicated the fifth volume of its Let’s Talk Research newsletter to profiling the work of such investigators.

The Kidney Research Scientist Core Education National Training (KRESCENT) Program focuses on the training of world class scientists. It was created in 2005 through a special contribution of The Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Society of Nephrology and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. A unique program, KRESCENT is characterized by: the recruitment of trainees from multiple disciplines, for involvement in a national curriculum; career development support at the (post-) doctoral level including the first Faculty appointment and ongoing mentorship; and the development of collaborative research and knowledge translation across research themes.
 
For more information on the KRESCENT Program or The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s research initiatives, contact Wim Wolfs, National Director Research at (514) 531-2212 (cell) or by email at wim.wolfs@kidney.ca.

View the article in The Lancet
View the ICDC press release for more information

Discoverer of EPO Dies of Kidney Failure

December 23, 2010 - Eugene Goldwasser, the University of Chicago biochemist whose agonizingly long but ultimately successful search for a single protein helped launch the biotechnology industry, died on December 17, 2010 in Chicago after a brief illness. He was 88.

The immediate cause of death was renal failure associated with advancing prostate cancer, which he’d lived with for over 20 years. When his kidneys began to fail shortly after Thanksgiving, Goldwasser opted for hospice care instead of dialysis, a procedure revolutionized by his discovery.

Goldwasser, whose government-funded research began as a Cold War experiment to cure radiation sickness, found and purified erythropoietin, or EPO, which is a naturally-occurring hormone produced by the kidneys to stimulate new red blood cell production. Today, genetically-engineered versions of EPO cure anemia in dialysis and cancer patients and generate billions of dollars in sales for Amgen, Johnson & Johnson and Roche.

Read the obituary on Gooznews.com

Starting Dialysis Too Early May Be Life Threatening

December 23, 2010 - A study led by Dr. William Clark, published in the Dec. 2010 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, signals that patients diagnosed with kidney disease, if started too early on dialysis, are at an increased risk of death. On the other hand, early referral to a kidney specialist is clearly linked to better survival rates.

The study considered data of 25,910 adult patients in Canada who started dialysis between 2001 and 2007. The researchers looked at the timing of the start of dialysis (early vs. late in the disease progression) and the risk of death in these two groups over time. “Consistently through our research, it was shown that there is no benefit to initiate dialysis prematurely. In fact, it was concluded that it would potentially threaten the patient’s survival,” the researchers wrote. The authors also maintained that "in contrast to early initiation of dialysis, early referral to a nephrologist is consistently associated with better survival." “This study makes an important contribution to our understanding of how to best minimize the risk to kidney patients when treating end-stage renal disease,” says Paul Shay, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. He also noted that “this study underscores the importance of registries such as the Canadian Organ Replacement Registry (CORR) for the development of clinical guidelines for the best treatment of kidney patients.”

Together with the Canadian Society of Nephrology (CSN), The Kidney Foundation is proud to be one of the founding organizations of CORR. Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn, Chair of the Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee of the CSN states that “the results of studies such as this are important for updating guidelines for patient care, as well as highlighting the value of registries such as CORR in providing the detailed clinical information to undertake such research”.

Dr. William Clark is a professor the University of Western Ontario and is a member of the Biomedical Scientific Committee of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. The results of his study are consistent with CSN Clinical Practice Guidelines.

 

KRESCENT researcher Dr. Nina Jones is awarded a Canada Research Chair

December 22, 2010 - The KRESCENT Program would like to congratulate Dr. Nina Jones (University of Guelph) for being awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair. The Canada Research Chairs are intended to help universities attract and retain top researchers and make Canada one of the world’s top countries in research and development. Awarded to potential world leaders in their field for a period of five years, each chair is worth $ 100,000 per year.

Dr. Jones is a New Investigator (grant awarded in 2007) in The Kidney Research Scientist Core Education National Training (KRESCENT) Program. The KRESCENT Program was created in 2005 through a special contribution of The Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Society of Nephrology and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The Program focuses on the training of world class scientists and supports researchers like Dr. Jones so they can dedicate time to study their area of focus. In the case of Dr. Jones, research is focused on the podocyte (a unit that filters the blood in the kidney).

“These [Research Chairs] are prestigious awards”, said KRESCENT Program Director, Dr. Kevin Burns. “It shows that the Program is supporting excellent young researchers who will contribute to a better understanding of kidney function, which represents the first step to finding a possible cure for kidney disease.”

A unique program, KRESCENT is characterized by: the recruitment of trainees from multiple disciplines, for involvement in a national curriculum; career development support at the (post-) doctoral level including the first Faculty appointment and ongoing mentorship; and the development of collaborative research and knowledge translation across research themes.

Dr. Kevin Burns garners the 2010 Medal for Research Excellence

December 3, 2010 – Dr. Kevin Burns, a leader in translating kidney research into patient-oriented practices and a clinician-scientist committed to training future scientists, garners The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s 2010 Medal for Research Excellence.

Past President of the Canadian Society of Nephrology, Dr. Burns currently chairs the Steering Committee for the Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training (KRESCENT) Program, a unique national research-training program for clinical and basic science trainees that he played a key role in founding. Dr. Marie-Josée Hébert, Shire Chair (Université de Montréal) in Nephrology, Transplantation and Renal Regeneration notes that “Dr. Burns was instrumental in making the KRESCENT Program a reality. He still shows an incredible dedication and leadership in the training of young scientists who will be optimally prepared for developing innovative and multidisciplinary research programs.”

Dr. Burns’ research work has focused on the functioning of the kidney-based hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid levels (renin-angiotensin system or RAS). Recently, his laboratory has revealed insights into the function of a RAS enzyme called ACE2, which may protect against kidney damage. Dr. Burns has also demonstrated a commitment to translating his studies at the basic science level to patients affected by kidney disease.

Download the full press release (pdf)

Go to our Research section for more information on the Medal for Research Excellence 

Kidney Transplantation May Reduce Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Older CKD Patients
September 27, 2010 - Research published in the Journal of Hypertension by Dr. Moshen Agharazii and colleagues from the Université Laval (Quebec City) reports a first-time finding of age-dependent improvement in aortic stiffness after successful kidney transplantation. As a result of aging, arteriosclerosis or end-stage kidney disease, arteries may stiffen and increase the heart’s workload, leading to an increased risk of death. The study’s new observations suggest older Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients with a successful kidney transplant have reduced cardiovascular risks.

“It was always thought that the stiffness of the blood vessels could not be reversed,” states Dr. Agharazii. “In this study, we showed for the first time that stiffness of the blood vessels is reversible as early as 3 months after a successful kidney transplantation … It is now time to study why patients with kidney disease develop vessel stiffness and how we can intervene to prevent and reverse this stiffness even in patients who do not have the opportunity to undergo kidney transplantation.”

This study was made possible by an innovative funding partnership known as a New Emerging Team Grant – Chronic Disease, involving The Kidney Foundation of Canada, three institutes of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), The Heart & Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Diabetes Association. “New knowledge is essential to reducing the burden of kidney disease and can often surface when funders pool resources to support interdisciplinary research. The Kidney Foundation recognizes the importance of pushing boundaries to fund excellent research and will continue to work with other organisations to make this possible’’, says Paul Shay, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada.

For more information on the KRESCENT Program or The Kidney Foundation of Canada, contact Wim Wolfs, National Director Research (514) 531-2212 (cell.) or wim.wolfs@kidney.ca.

View the article in Journal of Hypertension

Kidney Foundation of Canada Funded Study Identifies Barriers to Living Kidney Donation

July 13, 2010 - A study published in Nephrology Dialysis and Transplantation by a group of Albertan researchers led by Ms. Lianne Barnieh, supported by a Kidney Foundation Allied Health Doctoral Fellowship, explored for the first time in Canada the barriers to living kidney donation for eligible kidney transplant patients.

The most frequently reported barriers identified by potential recipients were not knowing how to ask someone for a kidney and fear either for themselves (the transplant not functioning) or donor (future health implications). Kidney disease patients who understood the living donation process or that the donation did not pose significant long-term risk to the donor were more likely to have had discussions with potential donors

Dr. Barnieh’s study suggests “that providing appropriate information about living donation, which can be delivered within a structured educational intervention, could influence the decision to discuss and seek a living donor.”

“This is an extremely important study”, says Paul Shay, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “The more we understand people’s perceptions, belief and behaviors in the organ donation process the better we can design educational programs to empower people regarding organ donation.”

For more information on The Kidney Foundation of Canada contact Wim Wolfs, National Director Research, at 514-531-2212 (cell.) or wim.wolfs@kidney.ca.

View the article in Nephrology Dialysis and Transplantation

Kidney Foundation Funded Study Finds That Vitamin B May Be Harmful For Kidney Patients With Diabetes
May 3, 2010 - In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by Dr. Andrew House of the University of Western Ontario, patients with diabetic nephropathy taking high doses vitamin B showed a decrease in kidney function and were at increased risk for heart attacks and stroke.

Patients with diabetes normally have higher homocysteine (an amino acid that increases clotting of the blood) levels and often take vitamin B supplements, which seem to lower homocysteine levels. Studies have shown that too much homocysteine in the blood is related to higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.

Dr. House and colleagues think that because vitamin B is water soluble, healthy people would excrete excess vitamin B in the urine. However individuals with reduced renal function would not be able to do so, perhaps causing the adverse affects seen in this study.

“This is an extremely important study”, says Paul Shay, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “People with kidney disease often take vitamins assuming they must be safe and good for their health. People with kidney disease should talk to their doctor before taking over-the-counter supplements.”

For more information on The Kidney Foundation of Canada contact Wim Wolfs, National Director Research 514-531-2212 (cell.) or wim.wolfs@kidney.ca.

View the article in Journal of American Medical Association

Canadian Study Finds Chronic Kidney Disease Screening Could Increase Early Disease Management and Public Health

April 14, 2010 - According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn and colleagues of the Alberta Kidney Disease Network, the reporting of estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR) – a measurement of the kidney’s ability to filter waste products - increased first time visits to kidney specialists, especially for middle aged to elderly patients, patients with more severe kidney dysfunction and those with co-morbidities, such as hypertension and diabetes.

This news is notable because Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is an important and increasing public health problem that could be more effectively addressed and treated by early patient and physician awareness. In fact, early detection and appropriate interventions could stem chronic kidney disease progression - or even reverse it.

“An extremely important measurement of kidney function is estimated GFR”, says Paul Shay, National Executive Director, The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “People at risk for kidney disease should know their GFR just as people at risk for cardiovascular disease know their blood pressure.”

A low GFR is an indication of reduced kidney function. Estimated GFR is calculated using a formula based on age, gender and the result of a blood test (serum creatinine) to estimate kidney function. Creatinine is a natural waste product of body muscle. High levels in the blood or serum tests coupled with other risk factors, is an important indicator of an individual’s kidney health or possible kidney damage.

This Canadian study, funded by The Kidney Foundation of Canada and the KRESCENT Program and published in March 2010, is based on information of more than 1,000,000 adults in a province-wide (Alberta) database. The same research group published an earlier study that showed a lower eGFR is associated with an increased risk of negative outcomes (see story “Reduced kidney function with proteinuria associated with increased risk of kidney failure”). Together these studies underscore that CKD is common and requires referral to a specialist.

The Kidney Research Scientist Core Education National Training (KRESCENT) Program focuses on the training of world class scientists.  It was created in 2005 through a special contribution of The Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Society of Nephrology and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. A unique program, KRESCENT is characterized by: the recruitment of trainees from multiple disciplines, for involvement in a national curriculum; career development support at the (post-) doctoral level including the first Faculty appointment and ongoing mentorship; and the development of collaborative research and knowledge translation across research themes.
 
For more information on The Kidney Foundation of Canada or the KRESCENT Program, contact Wim Wolfs, National Director Research 514-531-2212 (cell.) or wim.wolfs@kidney.ca.

View the article in Journal of American Medical Association

Reduced Kidney Function with Proteinuria Associated With Increased Risk of Kidney Failure
February 11, 2010 - Patients with high levels of  protein in the urine (proteinuria) coupled with at least one other marker of reduced kidney function had a higher risk of death, heart attack and progression to kidney failure according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) co-authored by Dr. Matthew James. Dr. James is a Post-Doctoral Fellowship recipient of the landmark Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training (KRESCENT) Program made possible by The Kidney Foundation and a team of collaborators.

This Canadian study, published in February 2010, is based on information from nearly a million (902,985) adults in a province-wide (Alberta) database and proves significant for both its size and findings. Current guidelines for the classification and staging of chronic kidney disease (CKD) are based on estimated glomerular filtration rate or eGFR (a measure of the severity of kidney damage) without explicit consideration of the severity of coexistent proteinuria. The authors note: ''our findings do suggest that risk stratification performed in terms of eGFR alone is relatively insensitive to clinically relevant gradients in risk.''

Presently, chronic kidney disease is classified in five (5) different stages based on eGFR. This classification scheme has been very helpful in educating both medical professionals and the general public on CKD incidence and the implications of CKD in terms of early identification and management of persons with the disease.

The five stage classification, however, has been questioned for not including the presence and severity of proteinuria, a condition in which urine contains an abnormal amount of protein. Proteinuria is an important indicator of CKD associated with negative outcomes.

Not everyone progresses from stage 1 to stage 5. Research is ongoing to better understand the factors that cause kidney failure and to identify individuals who are at particular risk for it.

“This is an important study,” says Paul Shay, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “The Kidney Foundation is interested in a better understanding of chronic kidney disease. The study demonstrates the importance of proteinuria. The Kidney Foundation is proud to support relevant research and those who perform it. These kinds of findings contribute in a significant way to a pool of knowledge that cumulatively has practical implications for both clinical care and research.”

The KRESCENT Program was created through a special collaboration of The Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Society of Nephrology and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The KRESCENT Program focuses on the training of world class scientists. It is a unique program characterized by: the recruitment of trainees from multiple disciplines, for involvement in a national curriculum, supports the career development at the (post-) doctoral level and the first Faculty appointment, with ongoing mentorship support, and fostering the development of collaborative research and knowledge translation across research themes.

For more information on the KRESCENT Program or The Kidney Foundation of Canada, contact Wim Wolfs, National Director Research (514) 531-2212 (cell.) or wim.wolfs@kidney.ca

View the article in Journal of American Medical Association

The Kidney Foundation and Dietary Salt Reduction
January 27, 2010 - The Foundation is proud to partner in the Sodium Reduction Research Workshop organised by the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) Institutes for Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes and Cardiovascular and Respiratory Health. The Workshop was held January 25 and 26 in Toronto and evaluated the strengths, gaps and opportunities in research capacity in Canada for sodium reduction research. It aims to develop the research agenda for sodium reduction that will support the Health Canada Workgroup on Sodium Reduction.

“Consuming more salt than we need can lead to high blood pressure,” says Paul Shay, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada, a member of Hypertension Canada, “and after diabetes, hypertension is the most common cause of kidney failure. So it stands to reason that if you care about your health, you’ll want to put a halt on the salt.” The benefits of dietary salt intake reduction were underscored in an editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine accompanying a landmark study on the public health benefits of dietary salt reduction. The study by Dr. Bibbins-Domingo (University of California, San Francisco) concluded that a 3 gram per day reduction in dietary salt would reduce the annual number of deaths from any cause by 44,000 to 92,000 in the United States. Lowering salt intake would result in small but measurable reduction in blood pressure. The NEJM editorial also stated that that there is evidence that salt reduction may reduce end-stage kidney disease.

Read the editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine
Read Dr. Bibbins-Domingo's article in the New England Journal of Medicine


Canadians Support Increase in Medical Research Funding
January 19, 2010 - A recent Angus Reid survey, conducted on behalf of six health organizations, found that most Canadians would support increased government funding for health and medical research because they believe breakthroughs are possible within 10 to 20 years. Results of the "Canada Speaks! 2010: Canadians Go for Gold in Health and Medical Research" survey are available at: http://www.canadaspeaks2010.ca/content.php?sec=3

More coverage of the survey available at:
http://www.news.tradingcharts.com/futures/5/3/134155835.html

Acute Kidney Injury Increases Long-Terms Risk of Death
December 23, 2009 - Patients with sudden loss of kidney function, called acute kidney injury (AKI), are more likely to die prematurely after leaving the hospital—even if their kidney function has apparently recovered, according to a study by Dr. Jean-Phillipe Lafrance, a KRESCENT Post Doctoral Fellowship recipient. "Our study found that risk of death remains elevated long after the acute kidney injury," comments Jean-Phillipe Lafrance.

Dr. Lafrance has returned to the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in Montreal after finishing his Fellowship at the Boston University School of Public Health. His Fellowship research led to the publication of an article focusing on Acute Kidney Injury and the risk of death in the Journal of American Society of Nephrology.

View Dr. Lafrance’s article in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 
Download the full press release (pdf)

2009 Medal for Research Excellence Awarded to Dr. Susan E. Quaggin
December 11, 2009 – Dr. Susan E. Quaggin has been awarded The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s 2009 Medal for Research Excellence for exceptional work that has extensively improved the lives of people living with kidney disease.

As a clinician-investigator, Dr. Quaggin develops research questions of major importance through her observations and work with patients at St. Michael’s Hospital. She runs her own lab at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto where she performs groundbreaking work.

“Sue Quaggin is an extensively published, accomplished and talented young scientist in the flourishing phase of her career,” notes Dr. Andras Kapus, associate professor at the research institute of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. “She has rendered immense service to the field of nephrology and to people with kidney disease. We look forward to what she will achieve in the years to come.’’

Each year The Kidney Foundation of Canada awards The Medal for Research Excellence to honour a Canadian researcher whose work is recognized by their peers for having improved the treatment and care of people living with kidney disease and related conditions.

Download the full press release (pdf)
Read our newsletter Let's Talk Research for more researcher profiles (pdf)

New Canadian Research Helps Doctors Care for Kidney Patients

October 9, 2009 – Research funded by The Kidney Foundation of Canada and led by kidney specialists at Lawson Health Research Institute and London Health Sciences Centre will make it possible for doctors to quickly and effectively access information relevant for patient care. These research findings have been released this week in the print version of the renowned British Medical Journal (BMJ).

“Our study shows that MEDLINE, the database most used by doctors to guide patient care, can be filtered in a reliable manner for patient relevant information,” says Dr. Amit Garg, a London Health Sciences Centre nephrologist and epidemiologist, Lawson scientist, associate professor with the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at The University of Western Ontario and Clinician Scientist with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Previous attempts to filter the database for a clinical discipline have been limited.

“Using filters is like screening for disease in high risk populations,” says Dr. Garg. “Instead of searching the entire MEDLINE database, doctors can now perform their search within a set of articles relevant to the discipline, such as kidney or kidney disease. Our best renal filters exceeded 97% sensitivity and specificity so they can now be programmed into the system, available for everyone to use – not just renal specialists.’’

Download the full press release (pdf)
Read Dr. Garg's article in British Medical Journal

KFOC Fellowship Recipient Publishes Study Results
August 21, 2009 - Dr. Josée Bouchard, a KFOC Fellowship recipient (July 2007 to June 2009), has returned to Hôpital Sacré-Coeur in Montreal after finishing her Fellowship at the University of California San Diego. Her Fellowship research has led to the publication of an article focusing on critically ill patients suffering from acute kidney injury and the effect of fluid accumulation on their outcomes.

Despite progress in intensive care delivery and dialysis support, there has not been much improvement in survival of acute kidney injury patients. Dr. Bouchard's study shows that fluid accumulation may aggravate the increased mortality in dialyzed and non-dialyzed patients with acute kidney injury. Randomized controlled trials are now needed to confirm whether the fluid accumulation was a result of a more severe renal injury or a factor contributing to its cause. Dr. Bouchard worked with members of the Program to Improve Care in Acute Renal Disease (PICARD) Study Group to complete the project informing her publication.

View Dr. Bouchard’s article in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

View the editorial on Dr. Bouchard's article in Nature Reviews Nephrology

Now a Montreal-based nephrologist and clinical researcher, Dr. Bouchard is involved in a multicenter prospective study on acute kidney injury including patients from Hôpital Sacré-Coeur, University of California San Diego and 3 medical centers in the state of New York. Other centers from South America, Europe and Asia will join their group over the next months.

Dr Catherine Whiteside To Be Awarded 2009 May-Cohen Award
August 19, 2009 - Dr. Catharine Whiteside, the Foundation’s 2007 awardee of the Medal for Research Excellence, will receive the Canadian Medical Association 2009 May-Cohen Award for Women Mentor. 

Download the press release from the Canadian Medical Association (pdf)
Read our profile on Dr. Whiteside

Quality of Life of Dialysis Patients Focus of Foundation-funded Documentary

June 15, 2009 - A two-year study (2006-2008) funded by The Kidney Foundation of Canada and the Donner Canadian Foundation, “Living with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): Multiple perspectives on suffering and healing” has resulted in a feature-length, patient-centred documentary film about what it is like to live with kidney failure.

Led by Dr. Thomas Hutchinson and Dr. Dawn Allen of McGill University, the project began as a discussion between patients and health professionals. Living With Kidney Failure draws on video data from focus group discussions, biographical interviews, and observation in dialysis units to raise awareness about chronic kidney disease and to promote a better understanding of its quality-of-life implications for people who live with this chronic illness.

Watch the documentary Living With Kidney Failure

Foundation-Funded Research with Important Implications

June 3, 2009 - A team of researchers at The University of Western Ontario, led by Joaquin (Quim) Madrenas of the Robarts Research Institute, has discovered some processes that reduce the lethal effects of toxins from superbugs, allowing humans and microbes to co-evolve. This discovery may lead to novel alternatives to antibiotics that specifically target the toxic effects of these superbugs. The findings are being published in the journal Nature Medicine and are now available online.

View press release (pdf)
View Dr. Madrenas article in Nature Medicine

Dr. Madrenas' research was funded by The Kidney Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and was featured in Let's Talk Research vol. 1 (pdf)



National Office - 300-5165 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, QC H4A 1T6 - Tel.: (514) 369-4806 / 1-800-361-7494
Charitable Registration Number: 107567398RR0001