PKD scientists gather for research symposium

Jared Grantham, M.D.Earlier in May, nearly 200 PKD scientists and physicians from around the world came together earlier this month at the Jared J. Grantham Symposium on “Future Directions of PKD Research.” The PKD Foundation was a major sponsor of the event.

It was PKD Foundation co-founder Dr. Grantham’s vision to host a forward-thinking and interactive forum focused on future directions and innovations in PKD research, which was sponsored by the Kidney Institute at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he spent his career in research and clinical practice. The symposium featured presentations and interactive panel discussions by 12 recipients of the Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of Polycystic Kidney Disease. In addition to a presentation by Dr. Grantham about the future of PKD, topics focused on discovery research and therapy development, including next generation therapies, genetic modifiers in ARPKD and new strategies to block cyst growth. This was the first time the Kaplan recipients were all gathered in one room specifically to present to each other.

“This event will help shape the future of PKD research,” said Dr. James Calvet, researcher at the Kidney Institute and professor at KU Medical Center. “It was an opportunity to share ideas with colleagues, develop new collaborations and work towards a treatment for this devastating disease.”

The event also provided an opportunity to develop interest in the field of PKD research for young researchers. “The symposium was exciting and informative,” said Dr. Kevin Erickson, a researcher from Stanford University. “I learned a great deal about ongoing research in PKD that I will be able to apply this to my research and clinical practice. It was also an opportunity to network with researchers from all over.”

The inaugural event honored Dr. Grantham’s groundbreaking career in PKD research after he retired in 2013 after 45 years of dedicated service to the PKD community. Nearly all of the PKD Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) was also in attendance. One current SAC member, and several past SAC members, are Kaplan Prize awardees.