ASN, Kidney Health Organizations Ask Congress to Increase Investment in Kidney Disease Research, Support Innovations in Kidney Medicine

The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) organized the fourth Kidney Community Advocacy Day (KCAD) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, bringing together 13 organizations in the kidney community to raise the profile of kidney diseases with lawmakers. A total of 75 advocates representing a broad intersection of patient and provider perspectives from the kidney and transplant community met with nearly 100 members of Congress and their staff, commending them for investing in kidney research and asking for their support of the Living Donor Protection Act and increased innovation in kidney care through programs like KidneyX.

Research Funding

“On behalf of the 40 million Americans living with kidney diseases, we thank Congress for recognizing the significant burden kidney diseases place on all Americans, and for increasing investment in kidney research at the NIH,” said Crystal A. Gadegbeku, MD, chair of the ASN Policy and Advocacy Committee.”

“Sustained investment in medical research, like the ground-breaking Kidney Precision Medicine Project, is crucial for the development of new therapies and treatments for kidney diseases. We deeply appreciate the historical Congressional NIH support that has brought us to the current state of kidney care and are excited about new avenues of investment to accelerate cutting-edge science toward better treatments and even cures.”

Innovation in Kidney Medicine

“In the past decades, we have seen too few new therapies become available that improve the lives of the millions of Americans affected by kidney diseases,” Gadegbeku added. “We need Congress to support public-private partnerships efforts to accelerate innovations for people with kidney diseases, like KidneyX.”” 

The Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX), is a new public-private partnership led by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) to seed, incentivize, decrease risk, and accelerate development of biologics, devices, drugs, and other therapies across the spectrum of kidney care. KidneyX will conduct a series of prize competitions to foster innovation in areas of unmet patient need, starting with a focus on developing next-generation dialysis technologies.

Saving Lives with Living Donor Transplants

Each day, 13 Americans die on the 100,000-person kidney transplant wait list – that was the message advocates delivered to Members of Congress while pushing for Congress to pass the Living Donor Protection Act of 2017, no-cost legislation to remove barriers to living organ donation and increase access to life-saving kidney transplants.

Sponsored by U.S. Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA, and Jerry Nadler, D-NY, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, the legislation protects living donors by ensuring insurance companies do not deny or limit coverage or raise premiums. It also clarifies that living organ donors can take Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time to recover from donation surgery and maintain job security.