Crossroads of Cardiovascular and Kidney Diseases

Chronic kidney disease affects close to 40 million people in the US alone, with a growing disease burden over the past two decades. Oddly, those with chronic kidney disease are more affected by cardiovascular disease than the rest of the population, with two-thirds of patients having at least one form of cardiovascular disease.

And on the flip side, over 40% of patients with cardiovascular disease have signs of kidney disease.

This association between cardiovascular disease and kidney disease extends across ages, races, and sexes, and doesn't seem to be fully accounted for by risk factors like hypertension and diabetes.

Our goal is to find the mechanism behind this cross-over in diseases.

Role of suPAR in the Intersection between Cardiovascular and Kidney Disease

Using genetic studies involving several large cohort and the UK Biobank (a publicly available database with genotype and phenotype data from over 500,000 individuals), we hope to determine a causal association between suPAR and both chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular diseases, confirming a joint pathogenic molecule.

We will delve further into the mechanics of suPAR using overexpressing and knockout transgenic mice, along with our collaborators at Rush University.

For more information on chronic kidney disease, click here.

suPAR to predict decline in kidney function

While current screening for kidney disease relies on screening high-risk populations using insensitive markers of disease such as proteinuria and eGFR, over half of patients with CKD are not in those high-risk populations, and symptoms are often absent until advanced stages.

Novel biomarkers of the pathophysiological processes leading to kidney disease are needed.

We will use a previously collected sample cohort known as the Prevention of REnal and cardioVascular ENDpoints (PREVEND) study to assess risk discrimination metrics for an incident decline in kidney function or proteinuria using biomarker measurements, including suPAR.

We already know adding suPAR to current risk discrimination indices dramatically improved prediction of chronic kidney disease. We hope we can make the future screening process for CKD easier using only easily assessed biomarkers.

More information on the PREVEND trial.

Read the marker paper of PREVEND.