CINCINNATI— There are currently over 350,000 patients on hemodialysis in the U.S.
But stenosis, or narrowing of the veins, often causes restricted access to the point in the body where blood is removed and then replaced during the dialysis process.
The UC nephrology division and the Cincinnati Dialysis Access Research Program (CAP) received two major grants to study why arteriovenous fistulas in hemodialysis patients are often unsuccessful.
Arteriovenous fistulas connect the artery and vein in dialysis patients and are essential for the removal and purification of blood during hemodialysis.
Prabir Roy-Chaudhury, MD, PhD, and colleagues were awarded a $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to organize a clinical trial to identify the reasons why fistulas don’t mature, or develop properly, in the body.
In addition, the team received a VA Merit Review grant—$600,000—look into the causes of fistula failure, such as blood flow abnormalities and cellular stress.
“Unfortunately, a patients’ ‘lifeline’—or dialysis access—is often compromised because of stenosis,” Roy-Chaudhury says. “As a result, hemodialysis vascular access dysfunction is currently the Achilles heel of hemodialysis, resulting in a significant morbidity, at a cost of over $1 billion annually.”
Roy-Chaudhury, professor of medicine at UC and director of the CAP, says these grants—which increase the funding of the CAP to almost $4 million—will allow researchers to explore new pathways to prevent dialysis access dysfunction and improve the quality of life for dialysis patients.
The CAP is a translational, multi-disciplinary initiative that aims to improve dialysis access care through the application of new therapies.
Major collaborators include Rino Munda, MD, and colleagues from the department of transplant surgery, as well as physicians and researchers from the departments of nephrology, mechanical engineering, pathology, biomedical engineering, radiology, cardiology, pharmacy and community nephrologists.
“This is a unique program in which we go from animal models to clinical trial research to clinical care,” Roy-Chaudhury says.