Study Aimed at Finding Genetic Link to Diabetic Kidney Disease

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Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston have launched the Joslin Kidney Study to search for genetic components that make some people with type 1 diabetes prone to kidney complications.

Kidney disease affects about one-third of all people with diabetes and is caused by a combination of factors including blood sugar control and high blood pressure. The first sign of kidney disease is microalbuminaria, or protein that is spilled into the urine. Kidney disease may progress to end-stage renal disease, where the kidneys fail to rid the body of wastes. End-stage renal disease must be treated by kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant.

According to Joslin, each year, more than 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. Diabetes is the most common cause of end-stage renal disease. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), African Americans and Native Americans develop diabetes, kidney disease and end-stage renal disease at rates higher than average.

“By identifying a genetic link through the Joslin Kidney Study, we hope to be able to more effectively treat and prevent kidney disease,” says Andrzej Krowelski, MD, PhD, head of the study. “Each additional family who participates in the Joslin Kidney Study increases the chances of finding genes responsible for diabetic kidney disease.”

For the study, which is being funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, recruiters are looking for people who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before age 31. The subjects must have a clinical diagnosis of kidney disease, including proteinuria, dialysis or kidney transplant. They also must have at least one other sibling who has diabetes but no kidney complications.

People from all over the world are encouraged to participate and will receive compensation for their time, as well as total confidentiality.

For more information about the Joslin Kidney Study or to see if your family qualifies, contact project manager Kellie Anderson, toll free, at (877) 264-2739 or via email at kidneygene@Joslin.harvard.edu.

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