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UAMS Gets $606K to Study Kidney Disease Risk

2 min read

A team of three researchers at UAMS has received a $606,274 grant to investigate how the body’s natural defense mechanisms contribute to cardiovascular risks for patients with kidney disease.

The one-year grant is an administrative supplement to the Arkansas IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence Program, awarded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health. The program builds research capacity in states that historically have had low levels of NIH funding.

The study will focus on the relationship between chronic kidney disease, or CKD, and platelets, the small, colorless fragments in blood that form clots and stop or prevent bleeding as part of the body’s defensive response to injury.

Damaged kidneys are unable to filter blood properly, which leads to waste and fluid buildup in the body, UAMS said in a news release. Cardiovascular risk increases with platelet buildup, which can be worsened by the stress that kidney disease puts on the heart.

The condition can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and early death.

CKD affects about 1 in 7 U.S. adults, or 35.5 million people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study is led by Rupak Pathak, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences in the UAMS College of Pharmacy; Dr. Nishank Jain, associate professor of nephrology in the UAMS College of Medicine; and Jerry Ware, professor of physiology and cell biology in the UAMS College of Medicine.

“When a patient has CKD, that activates platelets, which release very small particles in the blood,” Pathak said. “Our study will assess the difference in these microparticles between healthy subjects and patients with CKD, which will help us better understand how and when this process affects the progression of kidney disease.”

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