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Kidney Research UK Marks World Kidney Day With UK Screening Programme Proposals

(PresseBox) (Peterborough, ) Kidney Research UK is marking World Kidney Day 2008 with proposals for a UK study of screening for chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is estimated to affect one in 10 of the UK adult population.

The proposed programme, which is being supported by unrestricted educational grants from pharmaceutical company Roche and biotechnology company Amgen, will be piloted this summer in Oldham, Birmingham, Leicester and London. It is based on an initiative called Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP), which was developed by the National Kidney Foundation in the US where over 100,000 people have been screened. It is anticipated that more than 2,000 people will be screened in the UK pilot phase, targeting groups of adults who are at increased risk of chronic kidney disease, including:

- African Caribbeans
- South Asians
- people with diabetes
- people with hypertension
- those with a family history of kidney disease

Such a screening programme is in line with Prime Minister Gordon Brown s stated intention (January 2008) to increase preventative medicine and screening for early signs of the diseases which are common, harmful and treatable. If the approach proves successful, then it is hoped that it will be rolled out nationally.

Dr. Donal O Donoghue, National Clinical Director for kidney care comments: "Dialysis currently costs the NHS approximately nearly half a billion pounds. With early detection and prevention targeting high-risk groups, we can identify people with CKD, before they reach a critical stage and help them to manage the condition with medication and lifestyle changes. There can be no argument that this is the right thing to do for both the patient and the NHS."

CKD is difficult to detect early, as sufferers often display no symptoms, although people with high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes and certain ethnic groups have a higher risk. Early detection however can have a significant impact on patient outcomes because blood pressure treatment and changes in lifestyle can slow down the progression of the disease thus delaying the need for dialysis or transplantation.

Dr Evan Harris MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Kidney Group agrees: "Chronic kidney disease affects more than 3 million people in the UK. If the disease is not identified early, patients can suffer kidney failure requiring dialysis or organ transplant. This important study could pave the way for improved screening of chronic kidney disease and save many lives in the long term."

Ten percent of adults in the UK have some form of kidney damage yet only 3.7 per cent have been identified, which means that at least 6 per cent of the estimated sufferers are unidentified and unaware of their condition.

Individuals who think they may be at risk should contact their doctor or alternatively contact the Kidney Health Information Line on 0845 300 1499 or visit www.kidneyresearchuk.org.

About World Kidney Day
World Kidney Day (WKD), now in its third consecutive year, is mobilising the global healthcare community to raise awareness of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). This year WKD will be celebrated on the 13th of March in more than 60 countries on six continents. The message is simple "kidney disease is common, harmful and treatable". Early detection and prevention means that kidney disease and associated cardiovascular diseases can be better managed and even curtailed. Details on WKD activities can be found at: www.worldkidneyday.org.

About Amgen
Amgen discovers, develops, manufacturers and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. With a deep and broad pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about Amgen s pioneering science and our vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com.

About Roche in the UK
Roche aims to improve people's health and quality of life with innovative products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. Part of one of the world s leading healthcare groups, Roche in the UK employs nearly 2,000 people in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Globally Roche is the leader in diagnostics, and a major supplier of medicines for the treatment of cancer, transplantation, virology, bone and rheumatology, obesity and renal anaemia. Find out more at www.rocheuk.com.

Kidney Research UK

Kidney Research UK was formerly known as The National Kidney Research Fund, having changed its name in October 2005. For over 40 years, it has been the UK s leading kidney charity, funding research into the prevention, treatment, and management of kidney diseases. It also dedicates its work to patient care and educational initiatives.