A Kansas University researcher's new findings, published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, hold promise for the treatment of polycystic kidney disease.
"It's an achievement for me," said Jared Grantham, the Harry Statland professor of nephrology at KU's School of Medicine. "It's also an achievement for KU Medical Center and for Kansas."
The hereditary disease, called PKD, causes kidneys to fill with cysts and often leads to renal failure.
Treatment has been stymied because it's been impossible to measure a drug's effectiveness or the progression of the disease before it causes irreversible and serious damage to the kidney.
By measuring kidney volume, using magnetic resonance imaging or CT scans, the researchers were able to show a definite disease progression reflected in an increase in kidney size.
"Dr. Grantham's work provides hope to the 12.5 million people living with polycystic kidney disease," Dan Larson, PKD Foundation president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.
The research gives physicians a tool to determine the severity of the disease early in its course, and to determine how fast it is progressing, Grantham said. It also can be a tool for determining whether early treatment is effective.
The findings have implications for research, but Grantham said he expected that in time the research would benefit patients.
"Once we get better instrumentation to calculate kidney volumes, it can be done on a more widespread basis," he said.
Grantham, the lead author, worked with researchers and scientists from the Mayo Clinic, Emory University, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Washington University in St. Louis, Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Oregon and the National Institutes of Health.
The report is Grantham's fourth in the prestigious journal.