Kidney Week 2012 Ties Together Latest Science With Education

Daniel M. Keller, PhD

October 26, 2012

SAN DIEGO, California — The educational and scientific programs will be closely integrated at Kidney Week 2012: American Society of Nephrology 45th Annual Meeting, which will educate and inform the expected 13,000 attendees.

"It's just an amazing meeting in terms of the depth and the quality of science and education being presented," said Mark Rosenberg, MD, professor of medicine, director of the division of renal diseases and hypertension, and vice dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, who is chair of the Postgraduate Education Committee of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and education director for Kidney Week.

"What we try to do is blend those together to integrate the cutting-edge science into the existing knowledge base," Dr. Rosenberg said.

The theme of this year's meeting is "curing kidney disease." It was chosen by ASN president Ronald Falk, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the division of nephrology and hypertension at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, because "he really wants to stress the concept of cure," Dr. Rosenberg emphasized. Sometimes we forget that the ultimate goal of meetings like this is to enhance patient care and improve the performance of physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, he noted.

In his Presidential Address, Dr. Falk will review the progress and highlight future opportunities for curing kidney disease.

Dr. Rosenberg said the theme will show up across the program as oral abstracts and as "cure talks" in sessions by experts giving perspectives on the state of the field.

Almost 5000 abstracts, a record number, were submitted this year, allowing the selection of outstanding topics. In addition to 16 early educational programs that will address specific topics in nephrology, the meeting will offer a scientific exposition, plenary sessions, more educational sessions, poster sessions, and industry-sponsored educational symposia.

For the first time this year, 10 medical-device companies, selected through peer review, will display their devices or innovative therapeutic clinical developments on "innovation row," Dr. Rosenberg reported.

Scientific Program and State-of-the-Art Lectures

In his program chair's message, Manikkam Suthanthiran, MD, professor of medicine, biochemistry, and surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, highlighted several state-of-the-art lectures and distinguished lectureships by noted scientists.

State-of-the-art lectures will include:

  • David H. Sachs, MD, from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, presenting Tolerance and Kidney Transplantation

  • William L. Roper, MD, MPH, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, presenting Health Care Reform in America — Past, Present, and Future

  • Eric D. Green, MD, PhD, from the National Human Genome Research Institute, in Bethesda, Maryland, presenting Entering the Era of Genomic Medicine: Research Opportunities and Challenges

  • Robert W. Schrier, MD, from the University of Colorado, Denver, presenting Where Kidney Disease Was and Where It Is Headed

Named and special lectureships will include:

  • Bruce C. Vladeck, PhD, presenting Allocation of Health Care: Dialysis and Beyond

  • Richard P. Lifton, MD, PhD, presenting Mutations in the K+ Channel KCNJ5 Produce Primary Aldosteronism

  • Rajesh V. Thakker, MD, presenting Stone Formation in Dent's Disease

  • Robert A. Star, MD, presenting Sepsis AKI: Kidney as Amplifier and Target

  • Mauro Ferrari, PhD, presenting Nanomedicine and Nephrology

Also new this year will be the Hot Science session, featuring "abstracts submitted by members who a review committee felt were the hottest aspects of basic science," according to Dr. Rosenberg.

A late-breaking clinical science session will focus on some of the best clinical trials and clinical science. Unlike traditional late-breaker sessions, it will not only include clinical trial results, it will also present new developments with a clinical impact in nephrology, which will be more "discoveries...with quite a buzz around them...than they are a trial," Dr. Rosenberg explained.

Education Program

Some of the 1- or 2-day courses in the education program, such as an update on glomerulonephritis, repeat from year to year; others are new. Dialysis Facility Medical Directorship will cover everything from leadership to rules and regulations; Renal Relevant Radiology has been added to provide "what a nephrologist has to know about new and upcoming radiologic procedures," Dr. Rosenberg noted.

Clinical nephrology conferences will consist of 38 review sessions covering topics such as acute kidney injury, diabetes, transplantation, and glomerulonephritis. There will also be board review/maintenance of certification courses and tests for attendees who want to brush up.

In light of the rising epidemic of diabetes, which contributes to 40% to 45% of all kidney failure, a separate learning pathway on diabetes has been introduced. One could plan a very comprehensive program just on diabetes, Dr. Rosenberg noted.

Courses for Nonphysician Healthcare Professionals

Continuing nursing education credit and continuing pharmacy education credit will be offered for nonphysician healthcare professionals working in the renal arena. "For the first time ever, pharmacists and nurses will be able to get those credits" for attending the general sessions at the ASN meeting, not as a separate track. Similarly, physician assistants will be eligible for continuing medical education credit.

"I think the whole area of continuing medical education [and] continuing professional development is moving toward this interprofessional focus," Dr. Rosenberg said. "Nephrology is actually well ahead of the curve in terms of interprofessional care, where physicians and nurses and pharmacists and social workers are all really looking after patients. The prototypical example of that would be a dialysis unit."

As an added perquisite, the ASN is granting free associate membership to nurses, pharmacists, and physician assistants who register for Kidney Week "to try to keep them engaged with the society and to try to push the whole idea of interprofessional education," he said.

Dr. Rosenberg has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.