Why is Clinical Research Necessary in Nephrology?
It’s a cold, hard truth: chronic kidney disease kills more people than breast cancer or prostate cancer every year. In fact, the statistics are so alarming that medical experts now consider it an under-recognized public health crisis that affects 1 in 7 American adults or at least 37 million people. That’s 15% of the total adult population. With such high cases of people suffering from kidney disease, the field of nephrology is constantly evolving to find better treatment options for patients including medications, procedures, and therapies, all geared towards offering a better prognosis and giving patients the chance to live a good quality of life.
Unfortunately, so much still needs to be done and clinical research is now considered a huge necessity in nephrology to address renal conditions that are killing so many Americans each year.
The real situation
Although many studies have been conducted over the last few years, these have proven to be insufficient in addressing the increasing rates of kidney disease cases across the country.
The discrepancy becomes more evident when compared to other fields of medicine such as oncology where there are currently more than 1,300 clinical investigations and trials as compared to only 30 clinical investigations in nephrology.
There are also only 10 pharmaceutical companies developing drugs for kidney diseases. This means that only a few people are needed for clinical studies despite their eagerness to participate as compared to cancer patients who have better opportunities to be a subject in clinical trials.
The sad truth is: this has been the situation since 1945 when clinical trials for renal diseases have already lagged behind other medical conditions. In fact, patients suffering from renal diseases are often excluded from clinical studies for other diseases, which gave them lesser opportunities for getting a possible treatment for their condition.
Between 2006 and 2013, 57% of all clinical trials for cardiovascular disease, a condition related to renal disease, excluded patients with a kidney condition. This remained the same for many years, even if more people are diagnosed with kidney disease than cancer in the United States.
In fact, a lot of patients lose 90% of their kidney function before they notice that they have a kidney problem. This makes kidney disease a serious public health crisis that needs to be addressed right away.
The future of kidney disease research
In 2018, a joint effort by the FDA, European Medicines Agency, and National Kidney Foundation has given new light to kidney research in the hopes that more medical treatments will be offered to kidney disease patients in the future.
Despite the challenges in funding and support, research studies for kidney diseases are now underway and they are expected to yield new drugs and procedures that will allow patients suffering from kidney disease to live a longer and healthier life.
The hope of medical experts is that organizations focused on finding a cure for cancer would realize that there is a more serious problem looming with kidney disease.
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