This is part of a special series for the month of November, where we share with you what some of us in the PKD community are thankful for this year.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I am grateful that I will be able to be with my wife and close friends. I am also grateful for the opportunity the PKD Foundation has provided me to work toward treatments and eventually cures for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD).
I am often dumbfounded by the rapid advances made in molecular biology and genetics since my graduate school days in the 1970’s. It’s all I can do to keep up, but it is the kind of work that is gratifying and it certainly won’t hurt if I can play even a small role in bringing new therapies to PKD patients who need them. And it’s not just the science that energizes me–it’s also providing education and advocacy, and working with highly motivated people of all stripes, whether they are scientists, physicians, patients or hard working individuals, who share our common goal to be part of the solution to mitigate the effects of PKD.
I have not highlighted nearly enough my gratitude to my donor, Sandra, during the seven years (with hopefully many more to come) since she said, ”If we’re a match, my kidney is your kidney.” Less than ten words that were heartfelt and said without hesitation–never have I received a more significant gift. She is a veterinary pathologist and knew better than most what donating a kidney means.
I am thankful for my family, my friends, my donor and friend, and I have to say that I’m also grateful that I can still marvel at the intricacies of cells and that curious structure, the cilium, that has been around since virtually the beginning of life on earth. My wish this Thanksgiving is that we will decipher the cilium and the roles of polycystin 1, polycystin 2 and fibrocystin, and in the process find treatments and ultimately a cure for PKD.
Dr. Baron is the Chief Scientific Officer at the PKD Foundation.