March 8th is World Kidney Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of healthy kidneys to our overall well-being, as well as reducing the impact of kidney disease. World Kidney Day is a joint initiative between the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF), along with a Steering Committee composed of nephrology and transplantation experts from around the world.
The day has several long-term objectives such as highlighting that diabetes and hypertension are high risk factors for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), and these patient groups should be regularly screened. There are also objectives focusing on encouraging medical professionals to actively educate their patients, and influencing local and national health authorities to invest in further kidney screening.
The theme for 2012 is Donate – Kidneys for Life – Receive, which focuses on another key aspect of the campaign: education around transplantation as a best-outcome option for kidney failure, and encouraging positive attitudes towards organ donation.
A recently published research article in BMC Nephrology investigates the levels of neutrophil gelatinase associated lipocalin (NGAL), a novel biomarker of kidney damage, before and after kidney transplantation. NGAL levels were shown to correlate with the duration of end stage renal failure in patients awaiting transplant, and plasma levels correlated with homocysteine levels in transplanted patients. Homocysteine is associated with atherosclerotic nature of kidney disease, and may be indicative of an increased risk of developing Cardiovascular Disease.
Transplantation Research is a new, open access journal soon to be launched by BioMed Central, which focuses on a range of topics around transplantation, including kidney transplantation. The content of this journal will be directed towards both basic scientists and clinicians in this field. The journal will help disseminate research on the benefits and long-term effects of transplantation to a wide audience, and is currently accepting submissions. Campaigns like today’s World Kidney Day encourage global awareness as well as improve the quality of life of affected individuals.
Professor Jeremy Chapman, a member of the World Kidney Day Steering Committee and Editorial Board member for Transplantation Research summarises:
"World Kidney Day is a call to mobilize and deliver transplantation therapy to the one million people a year who have a right to benefit".