Translational Research: Where do We Go from Here?

Translational Research: Where do We Go from Here?

Would you bet $25 to win $100?

We would gladly take the bet if the chance of winning were 96 percent. We certainly would not change our minds if the odds dropped to 94 percent. However, many scientists make different decisions on the basis of the p values inherent in this example—whether p = 0.04 or p = 0.06.

Idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (INS) affects 16 per 100,000 children and is one of the most common acquired childhood kidney diseases. INS often runs a relapsing course in children, even in the children who respond to prednisone therapy. As a result, these children often have a prolonged clinical course. Because of the burden of this condition—augmented by the significant complications associated with INS and its treatments in children—childhood INS remains an intimidating challenge for children, families, and medical professionals.

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The kidney maintains a proper fluid and electrolyte balance in our body, plays a major role in regulating blood pressure, and filters out waste products from the bloodstream for excretion from the body as urine. In addition, it is the source of the hormone erythropoietin and the active form of vitamin D. How has animal research contributed to treatment of kidney failure?

In 1971, I was diagnosed with kidney failure. Although I didn’t know it, my life had taken a new path. With a husband to love and support me, and a new baby daughter to raise, I had to pull myself together and get on with life.

My blood pressure was much too high, and soon I entered a clinical trial at the University of Washington in Seattle. The new blood pressure medicine being tested in the trial worked well for me. It slowed my kidney failure and kept me off dialysis for several years, much longer than had been projected.