Nancy A. Melville

October 27, 2013

ATLANTA ― The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Kidney Week 2013 promises to deliver on its theme this year, innovation and individualization, with a program packed with activities showcasing the latest in renal research and education.

"Kidney Week is the most exciting time of the year for kidney professionals, most importantly because of the willingness of so many leading scientists and healthcare professionals to submit pioneering work to this meeting," said ASN president Bruce Molitoris, MD, from Indiana University in Indianapolis.

"The meeting also excels at integrating new knowledge, therapeutic advances, and reviews of existing knowledge," he told Medscape Medical News.

More than 14,000 attendees are anticipated for the 5 days of lectures, symposia, debates, and basic and clinical research from more than 3800 scientific abstracts.

Leading international experts in nephrology are set to deliver state-of-the-art lectures on each day of the meeting, beginning with a lecture from Anthony Atala, MD, of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, on the topic of regenerative medicine and new approaches to healthcare.

Three other state-of-the-art lectures will include the following:

  • Harry Dietz, MD, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Johns Hopkins Institute of Genetic Medicine, will speak on new insights into the pathogenesis and treatment of Marfan syndrome and related disorders.

  • Julie Johnson, PharmD, of the University College of Pharmacy, will deliver a lecture on hypertension pharmacogenomics and discoveries and potential to guide hypertension therapy with genetics.

  • David Relman, MD, of Stanford University School of Medicine, will discuss diversity, stability, and function in the human microbiome.


"I am particularly excited about the plenary presentations because they offer a stimulating view into the future direction of nephrology — regeneration biology, systems biology, genomic personalization of therapy, and the microbiome," Dr. Molitoris said.

Dr. Bruce Molitoris

Anticipated research highlights will include presentations on 7 high-impact clinical trials set for Saturday, November 9, that will focus on issues ranging from the effect of bardoxolone methyl in type 2 diabetes mellitus to the treatment of lupus nephritis with abatacept plus low-dose pulse cyclophosphamide.

"These are broad-based trials across the field of nephrology, offer clinically important breakthroughs, and deal with quality-improvement measures of present-day therapies," Dr. Molitoris said.

Clinical Trials, Research at the Forefront

Additional research to be unveiled the meeting will include a study on the effects of discontinuing immuosupressive mycophenolate acid products during pregnancy in order to prevent fetal exposure (abstract 3136).

Researchers will also present results on the safety of the approximately 10% of deceased donor kidneys that are considered high-risk for infection (abstract 2603).

Lively debates surrounding the role of parathyroid hormone and vitamin D in the management of patients with chronic kidney disease are expected in a special session provocatively titled the Bone and Vitamin D Stories in CKD: Fact or Fiction.

The session will feature not just 1 but 2 debates on the controversial topics of the usefulness of measurement and supplementation of 25(OH)D and whether measuring parathyroid hormone is still useful.

Another hot topic to be spotlighted will be calcineurin inhibitors ― dubbed by the organizers "the Rodney Dangerfields" of immunosuppressive medications because they just don't get the respect they deserve.

In an educational symposium titled Transplant Immunosuppression: Make New Friends, But Keep the Old, the evolving role of calcineurin inhibitors in kidney transplantation ― and concerns of their nephrotoxicity ― will be addressed.

From Biomarkers to Guidelines

During Kidney Week, the American Association of Clinical Chemistry will hold its 30th Annual Beckman Conference, an event that delves into new biomarkers that hold the potential to revolutionize the testing and treatment of kidney function and kidney injury.

Attendees will be updated on the latest clinical practice guidelines being developed by Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes in a special session, which will include a presentation by Michel Jadoul, MD, on the organization's hepatitis C virus guideline implementation study, said to be the first of its kind.

New to this year's Kidney Week will be an expanded focus on basic science and innovation, Dr. Molitoris said.

"Six basic science sessions have been added to this year's program covering cutting-edge issues in nephrology," he pointed out. "The ASN has also expanded innovator's place, providing meeting participants insights into new therapies in the pipeline."

Several additions have also been made to the meeting's early programs, held November 5 and 6. Among them is the new program on NephroPrevention, Dr. Molitoris explained. "The program will focus on reducing kidney disease progression and complications, a vital area of study."

New This Year

Featured in the NephroPrevention program will be a debate, can glomerular filtration rate algorithms guide NephroPrevention? Arguing on the pro side ― that screening in the general population will affect progression of chronic kidney disease or mortality ― will be Carmine Zoccali, MD, from the National Research Council at Riuniti Hospital, Reggio Calabria, Italy.

Scheduled to speak on the con side of the argument ― that screening will not alter chronic kidney disease progression or mortality ― is Michael Shlipak, MD, from the University of California at San Francisco.

In another new early program, from molecules to man to main street, experts will focus on innovations in translational science.

"The program will bring together basic scientists, clinical researchers, and full-time practitioners to explore how best to apply the most exciting research advances to patient care," said Dr. Molitoris.

He noted, "The ASN's annual meeting provides a unique opportunity for investigators, healthcare professionals, and industry to get together, learn from each other, and advance care for patients with kidney disease."

Kidney Week 2013: The American Society of Nephrology Annual Meeting. November 5-10, 2013.


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