Study of Risk Factors for Kidney Disease Continues

The Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study holds hope for prevention and treatment of chronic kidney disease, which afflicts 26.3 million patients in this country. Tulane University will continue its participation in the national study through a five-year, $3.4 million grant.


Dr. Jiang He leads the Tulane research team in the national Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study, which is following 400 New Orleans-area patients. He chairs the Department of Epidemiology. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

“The CRIC study will find opportunities to prevent and better treat chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Jiang He, who leads the study at Tulane.

He is the holder of the Joseph S. Copes MD Chair in Epidemiology, a professor of epidemiology and medicine, and chair of the Department of Epidemiology.

The Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine received the additional funding to continue work on the project.

The study began in 2003 and is sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

It is following approximately 3,600 individuals with chronic kidney disease at 13 sites across the United States for up to nine years, including 400 individuals from the New Orleans area.

Persons with chronic kidney disease have a high risk of developing life-threatening cardiovascular disease. In addition, chronic kidney disease can often progress to end-stage renal disease, which requires patients to receive dialysis or a kidney transplant.

“This study will likely be a landmark study in identifying which treatment strategies will be most effective in patients with kidney disease and the heart disease that frequently accompanies kidney disease,” said Dr. Lee Hamm, who holds the Greenberg Chair of Medicine and is one of the key Tulane researchers involved in the work.

The long-term study was established to examine the risk factors for the progress of chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease, in order to find opportunities to prevent and better treat both conditions.

“Many of these patients have no symptoms,” said Hamm, a professor and executive vice dean of the Tulane School of Medicine. “In recent years we have found that kidney disease is much more common than we previously thought.”

Other key researchers involved in the project are Dr. Jing Chen, assistant professor of medicine, and Dr. Lydia Bazzano, assistant professor of epidemiology and clinical assistant professor of medicine.

Institutions participating in the study in addition to Tulane include the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois and Kaiser Permanente.