Nephrology

A circulating harbinger of kidney disease

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Science  11 Dec 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6266, pp. 1328-1329
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6266.1328-f

Chronic kidney disease affects 600 million people worldwide. Initially asymptomatic, the disease often follows a progressive course that can lead to heart disease and kidney failure. An easily measured biomarker that identifies people at high risk of developing kidney disease would allow doctors to intervene earlier so that patients' disease progresses at a slower rate. Toward that end, Hayek et al. examined the predictive capacity of suPAR, a protein previously linked to a certain type of kidney disease. They serially monitored plasma levels of suPAR in a large group of patients, many with normal kidney function at the study's start, and found that elevated levels of the protein correlated with a decline in kidney function and with new-onset chronic kidney disease.

N. Engl. J. Med. 373, 1916 (2015).

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