Two years later most ESRD patients were eligible for Medicare.With the State Kidney Disease Program, private insurance and Medicaid, the center became financially stable.
In 1989, NKC was growing rapidly. Since many patients were going to the facility for treatment, Dr. Joseph W. Eschbach, who sat on the board of trustees and was the inventor of erythropoietin (EPO) decided that the NKC would be a perfect place to do human trial of the newly developed anemia drug.
On June 3, 1989 a brief article was released in the Anchorage Daily News and Eschbach said in it that the "artificial kidney keeps people alive, but erythropoietin gives them more quality of life."1
Years later, it has helped millions of people deal with anemia caused by kidney disease.
Ten years after being a part of the first EPO trial, the NKC became the first center to study the FDA-approved Aksys PHD System which allowed patients more frequent hemodialysis. Although that line went bankrupt, NxStage was appearing on the market and has been around for many years and the NKC has been involved with them and their HHD equipment.
In 2008, in partnership with the University of Washington, the Kidney Research Institute (KRI) was established.
"That organization now is up to 40 researchers working on 20 active studies," Sellers said. "They've attracted about $30 million in NIH funding and that was from starting from scratch."
During the NRAA conference that was held in October, Jonathan Himmelfarb, MD, director of KRI spoke on behalf of the organization. He said that the mission of the organization is to conduct research that can improve lives of people with kidney disease while focusing on five major themes:
- Cardiovascular and metabolic risk in kidney disease,
- Attenuating consequences of ischemic kidney injury,
- Novel kidney replacement therapies,
- New therapeutic targets in diabetic kidney disease, and
- Improving health care delivery in kidney disease.