Multidisciplinary team awarded NIH grant to track kidney disease


The U-M Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center has been awarded a five-year, $8.5 million federal contract to serve as the coordinating center for the United States Renal Data System.

The USRDS is a national data system that collects, analyzes and distributes information about patients with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease.

An estimated 13 percent of Americans have chronic kidney disease, which increases their risk for early death due mainly to cardiovascular disease.

The coordinating center, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, provides clinical, biostatistical, epidemiological, data management and analytical expertise necessary to maintain and update the existing USRDS database.

Every year in the U.S., 100,000 people develop end-stage kidney disease that requires dialysis or kidney transplantation for survival.

“The award presents a unique opportunity to address one of the nation’s fastest-growing chronic diseases,” said U-M nephrologist Rajiv Saran, project director of the USRDS, professor of internal medicine and associate director of Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center. “The work we do will provide the impetus for improving the care and quality of life for patients with all aspects of kidney disease and guide prevention efforts.”

The USRDS project includes a multidisciplinary team of 21 investigators from the Medical School, School of Public Health, Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, Frankel Cardiovascular Center and School of Pharmacy, as well as subcontractors from Arbor Research Collaborative for Health and the University of California-Irvine.

Yi Li, professor of biostatistics at SPH, and Bruce Robinson, vice president of clinical research at Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, are co-deputy directors on the project.

The award, combined with a $17.6 million award from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services granted in October, expands Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center funding for national kidney disease monitoring, quality improvement and research. It also illustrates the long-standing impact of the center, which was involved in the earlier phase of USRDS from 1988-99.

“I am extremely excited with the achievement made by Dr. Saran and the team,” said Li, director of the Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center. “With the strong support of the School of Public Health and Medical School, (the center) is committed to facilitating the successful operation of the project. I envision that the new coordinating center will provide a solid platform for publishing high-impact papers and reports of scientific findings based on USRDS data, and for fostering research in the renal field.”


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