Type 1& Type 2 Diabetes: Allied Against Kidney Disease On World Kidney Day

BRUSSELS – 1 February 2007. Globally more than 500 million individuals, or about one adult in ten, have some form of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Approximately 1.5 million people must be kept alive with dialysis, and wait up to seven years for a transplant – if one is available.

Since CKD increases the risk of renal failure, cardiovascular disease and stroke, up to 36 million people will die prematurely by the year 2015. Doctors, patients, health officials and industry must be steadfast and united in working for early detection and treatment of CKD, a common, harmful, but treatable disease.

This 8 March 2007, hundreds of thousands of kidney patients will join their doctors and families across the world to ask those who don’t know about CKD “Are your kidneys OK?” because improved public understanding is the first step to slowing or even halting CKD in its tracks. Under the pioneering leadership of non-profit co-organisers the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF), World Kidney Day 2007 is also made possible thanks to grants from corporate partners Genzyme, Roche, Amgen, Shire and Wyeth.

“Until now, the burden of CKD has not been well appreciated, so we congratulate the World Kidney Day organizers for raising public awareness worldwide,” says Dr. Philippe Van der Auwera, global head of Anaemia Management at Roche. “We are honoured to be a founding partner of this critical campaign and will specifically support a global online educational quiz this year, to serve as a benchmark of the public’s knowledge which can guide learning needs in coming years.”

The incidence of CKD is increasing because of the close relationship between CKD and the widespread rise of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. “It is critical to raise awareness of the major toll that CKD takes on the lives of millions of people worldwide, and the link between CKD and cardiovascular disease,” said John P. Butler, President of Genzyme Renal. “We support World Kidney Day because we are committed to improving the lives of people affected by chronic kidney disease through education, research and innovative new treatments.”

Many countries will be offering free public screening for CKD on 8 March 2007. Dr. Robert Brenner, Executive Director for Nephrology Medical Affairs at Amgen says: “As a pioneer of chronic kidney disease therapies for more than 15 years, Amgen is committed to supporting early screening programs and innovative therapies that help patients live longer, more productive lives.”

Prof. Vittorio Andreucci, President of the National Kidney Foundation of Italy and a member of the World Kidney Day Scientific Advisory Board, notes that “the majority of individuals with early stages of CKD go undiagnosed, particularly in developing countries. The early detection of kidney impairment is therefore essential and allows suitable treatment before kidney damage or deterioration manifests itself through other complications.”

For the World Kidney Day Steering Committee, co-chairs Dr. Sudhir Shah (IFKF President) and Dr. William Couser (ISN President), emphasize that “without the concerted effort of our two volunteer-driven organisations and the constructive support of our industry partners and professional staff, we could not have formed such a strong worldwide alliance, united against the rising tide of CKD.”

To find out what you know about kidney disease and your risk factors, click on “Are your kidneys OK?” on the World Kidney Day website: www.worldkidneyday.org. Learn more about events in your country and what you can do to help. Also available in the “Media Corner” of the website is the Steering Committee’s medical editorial.

About our 2007 main corporate partners:

Genzyme is one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies. Its products and services are focused on rare inherited disorders, kidney disease, orthopaedics, cancer, transplant and immune diseases, and diagnostic testing. More information on www.genzyme.com.

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world’s leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the leading supplier of medicines for cancer and transplantation, a market leader in virology, and anaemia associated with chronic kidney disease and cancer. More information can be found at www.roche.com.

Amgen, a biotechnology pioneer, discovers, develops and delivers innovative human therapeutics. Our medicines have helped millions of patients in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other serious illnesses. With a deep and broad pipeline of potential new medicines, we continue to advance science to serve patients. More information on www.amgen.com.

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