Advocates from the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) are urging members of Congress to invest $25 million in the innovation partnership KidneyX and in support of veteran active-duty service members living with or at risk of kidney diseases.
More than 37,000,000 Americans are living with kidney diseases, including more than 800,000 with kidney failure, a life-threatening condition for which there is no cure. Despite high levels of government spending (annually $150 billion) on the care of people living with kidney diseases and kidney failure, therapeutic options remain limited.
KidneyX is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and ASN. Since 2019, KidneyX has awarded 67 prizes across five competitions for patient-centered solutions ranging from dialysis-accessible clothing to ground-breaking prototypes of artificial kidney and xenotransplant technology.
ASN and AAKP are asking Congress to provide full funding of $25 million in fiscal year 2024 to allow KidneyX to expand the number of innovators it supports and accelerate the development of transformative technologies, particularly the world’s first artificial kidney.
“The 37 million Americans living with kidney diseases, including 7.7 percent of U.S. veterans, deserve care that meets their needs,” stated ASN President Michelle A. Josephson, M.D., in a statement. “ASN is proud to partner with the AAKP for the eleventh annual Kidney Health Advocacy Day to jointly call on Congress to increase funding for innovation at KidneyX and funding for veterans and active service members at the Veterans Health Administration Kidney Health Program and Department of Defense Congressional Directed Medical Research Program.”
The VA’s Veterans Health Administration (VHA), provides care to the 19 million U.S. veterans, including the 7.7 percent of veterans living with kidney diseases through the VHA Kidney Health Program. Specifically, The VHA Kidney Health Program provides clinical care, education, research, and informatic resources to improve kidney health care, including offering outpatient dialysis care to veterans in more than 70 locations across the country. AAKP and ASN are asking Congress to support additional funds for expansions in virtual care and home dialysis programs, a rare kidney disease registry for veterans and implementation of pragmatic clinical trials.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) is one of the largest funders of kidney health outside the NIH. Last year, Congress provided $1.5 billion to the CDMRP for research of important health issues, including kidney cancer and rare kidney diseases such as polycystic kidney disease. AAKP and ASN are asking Congress to support CDMRP funding for spatial proteomics related to kidney biopsies and for testing precision pathways for acute and chronic kidney diseases.