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PKDF Director of Government Affairs recaps the 2018 ASN Kidney Week

Alexis (left) with the PKD Foundation’s new Director of Research, Elise Hoover

This year’s American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Kidney Week took place in San Diego, CA, from Oct. 25 to 28. We always look forward to Kidney Week to hear about new developments and initiatives being made in the world of nephrology. Alexis Denny, our Director of Government Affairs, was in attendance and is excited to share highlights from the event:

A day before Kidney Week began, a special PKD Early Program was held with a great lineup of PKD experts. They took this extra time to teach doctors, researchers and pharmaceutical company staff all about autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD). It was a busy meeting, with ample opportunity to engage with the PKD research community and pharmaceutical and biotech companies who are new to PKD or are working on clinical studies for PKD. In an exciting development, Sanofi Genzyme dropped a press release during the meeting announcing their new ADPKD clinical trial!

PKD discovery and milestones being recognized during the opening plenary

The following day, PKD was mentioned in the opening plenary, highlighting the progress made in research from the discovery of the gene for PKD in a 1996 paper to the first FDA-approved treatment just this year in April 2018. It was a wonderful way to kick off the conference, and things only got better from there.

I read many posters presenting new and innovative ADPKD and ARPKD research, demonstrating the interest and hard work being done to understand these diseases. I also participated in a kidney stakeholder summit hosted by Otsuka Pharmaceutical to discuss how to best support and understand what kidney patients experience. This was a great opportunity to collaborate with other kidney organizations, including American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), National Kidney Foundation (NKF), American Kidney Fund (AKF), Renal Physicians Association (RPA) and others.

Alexis with PKD researchers (left to right) Drs. Ben Cowley, Brett Mikesha, and Michal Mrug

I also attended the Kidney Health Initiative open house, where I heard from several guest speakers about the Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX) project. KidneyX is a public-private partnership between the US Department of Health and Human Services and the American Society of Nephrology to accelerate innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases. It was so encouraging to hear about their ideas and initiatives for the future.

All in all, ASN Kidney Week was fun, busy, exhausting and inspirational. Attending this meeting each year reminds me just how many people in the research, medical and pharmaceutical world there truly are working to develop treatments for PKD. I’m greatly looking forward to next year’s Kidney Week in Washington, D.C.!

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