The kidneys play a vital role in keeping us healthy, and often it is only when something goes wrong that we realize just how important our kidneys are.1

As many as 1 in 10 people are affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD) worldwide, which occurs when the kidneys have been damaged over time and can no longer function the way they should.2-4 CKD can get worse over time, and the kidneys may stop working altogether, known as kidney failure.4,5 In addition, CKD can be a risk factor for other diseases, including cardiovascular diseases.4

There are many different causes of CKD. In some rare kidney diseases, called complement-mediated kidney diseases, damage to the kidneys is caused when a part of the immune system becomes overly active.6-9

Although it is possible to slow or stop the progression of CKD with early diagnosis and treatment, people living with CKD, particularly those living with complement-mediated kidney diseases, continue to face a challenging journey.2,10 Complement-mediated kidney diseases, including C3 glomerulopathy (C3G), IgA nephropathy (IgAN), atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) and membranous nephropathy (MN), are chronic, rare, complex and progressive diseases.6-9 In complement-mediated kidney diseases, treatment options are limited beyond supportive care and may come with significant side effects, including hypertension, diabetes, obesity and a heightened risk of infections.11-14 CKD also has a significant impact on healthcare systems, as it currently costs more than breast, lung, colon and skin cancer combined.2

There is a need for new innovations that better address the significant unmet need in CKD management to help prevent disease progression and improve the lives of people living with kidney diseases.

Kidney disease patient walks to her appointment with her

The immune system and rare kidney disease

In some rare kidney diseases, CKD occurs because of an overly active immune system, which has a significant impact on patients and healthcare systems.

A kidney patient is smiling at the camera.

#NoFilter: Living and working with rare kidney diseases

In this series, a patient, physician and researcher share their experiences living and working with rare kidney disease.

At Novartis, we have a 35-year history in kidney transplant medicines. Our aim now is to reach beyond this heritage and transform the lives of people living with kidney diseases. We are committed to addressing the current unmet needs for these people through investigating new options that may slow kidney disease progression and extend dialysis-free life.

References

  1. National Kidney Foundation. Top 5 jobs kidneys do. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease/top-5-jobs-kidneys-do [Accessed Feb 2022]
  2. National Kidney Foundation. Global facts about kidney diseases. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease/global-facts-about-kidney-disease#:~:text=10%25%20of%20the%20population%20worldwide,have%20access%20to%20affordable%20treatment. [Accessed Feb 2022]
  3. KDIGO. https://kdigo.org/guidelines/ . KDIGO guidelines [Accessed Feb 2022]
  4. NHS. Kidney Disease. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/kidney-disease/ [Accessed Feb 2022]
  5. National Kidney Foundation. About chronic kidney disease. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/about-chronic-kidney-disease [Accessed Feb 2022]
  6. Koscielska-Kasprzak K et al. Archivum immunologiae et therapiae experimentalis. 2014; 62(1), pp.47-57.
  7. De Vriese A.S et al. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 2015; 26(12), pp.2917-2929.
  8. National Kidney Foundation. Kidney disease: The basics. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/fsindex [Accessed Feb 2022].
  9. Łukawska E et al. Clinical and experimental medicine. 2018; 18(3), pp.297-318.
  10. Artom M et al. Kidney Int. 2014;86(3):497-505.
  11. Rodrigues JC et al. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2017;12(4):677-686.
  12. Caravaca-Fontán F et al. Nephron. 2020;144(6):272-28.
  13. Rizk, DV et al. Frontiers in immunology. 2019;10, p.504.
  14. Oh, Gia J et al. Kidney international reports. 2019; 1608-1616.