Blood Protein Predicts Kidney Disease Risk in Diabetics

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WASHINGTON— Levels of certain blood proteins indicate which diabetes patients will likely develop life-threatening kidney problems in the future, according to two studies published online Jan. 19 in the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN).

The results could help physicians protect the kidney health of patients with diabetes years before any visible signs of trouble arise, according to the studies.

Kidney failure is one of the most life-threatening complications of diabetes, and almost half of patients who receive dialysis treatments need them because their kidneys have become damaged from diabetes.

Unfortunately, physicians don’t have an accurate, non-invasive way to determine which diabetes patients are most likely to develop kidney problems. Because recent research indicates that inflammation may contribute to kidney injury among patients with diabetes, Andrzej Krolewski, MD (Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School), Monika Niewczas, MD, PhD (Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, and Medical University of Warsaw, in Poland), and their colleagues wondered whether certain markers of inflammation might signal when a patient’s kidneys are in jeopardy.

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