The National Kidney Foundation Oct. 29 awarded five individuals with Young Investigator Grants, including a trio of Indian Americans.

Among those receiving grants to advance knowledge about the treatment and prevention of kidney disease and kidney failure from the foundation were Vishnu Potluri of the University of Pennsylvania, Jaya Kala of the University of Texas Science Center at Houston, and Manisha Singh of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, as well as Laith Al-Rabadi of the University of Utah Hospital and Cristian Riella of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

"The work we funded this year is remarkable in the range of topics and techniques these investigators have chosen to explore," Kerry Willis, the foundation’s chief scientific officer, said in a statement. "We are excited about the potential of the results to improve the health and outcomes of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease today, and those of generations to come."

Potluri will study "Forecasting Deceased Donor Kidney Allograft Survival Using Machine Learning."

Thousands of people donate their kidneys each year in the United States to help patients with kidney disease: Unfortunately, nearly 20 percent of all kidneys recovered from donors after death are never transplanted, the release said.

Leading kidney organizations in the United States, including the National Kidney Foundation, have prioritized reducing the number of unused, deceased donor kidneys, as one of their goals. This project will utilize tools such as machine learning to improve predicting kidney function after transplantation. The results could lead to more transplantation of kidneys that had previously been rejected due to concerns about quality, it said.

Kala will study "Isosorbide Mononitrate for Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Induced Kidney Injury."

Recent advances in cancer chemotherapy have helped dramatically improve the outcome of cancer and overall prognosis. These have allowed the patients to live longer and healthier lives, according to the release.

However, side effects of chemotherapy remain a major challenge. This study may help preserve the patients' kidney function during chemotherapy, improving its effectiveness, it said.

Singh will study "Identifying Barriers and Impacting Care in Chronic Kidney Disease Awareness."

According to the release, of about 450,000 Arkansans with chronic kidney disease, only 10 percent are aware that they have it.

Primary-care providers are powerful partners in protecting kidney function and slowing CKD progression since they encounter patients early in the course of CKD, the release said.

In this study, Singh will assess the ability of checklists to create short and long-term knowledge gains in PCPs. Singh will also explore barriers that prevent optimized CKD care, including nephrology referrals, it said.

A 10-step checklist of CKD guidelines will be used to support PCP awareness and provide an outline for care.

This study is one facet of the overall goal to improve CKD awareness in Arkansas. The results of this study will inform the development of further study addressing an interactive CKD checklist to improve outpatient CKD care, the release added.

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren't aware of it, the foundation notes.

One in three American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease, it said. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease, it said.

The National Kidney Foundation is believed to be the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organizations dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S.

More information about the foundation can be found by visiting www.kidney.org.

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