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Nephrology & Hypertension Research

Nephrology is the study of the function and diseases of the kidney and related organs. Diseases of the kidney can impact other organ systems in the body. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is often related to kidney disease.

The kidneys play an important role in maintaining health. They help remove waste products from the blood and also have a role in maintaining fluid and mineral balance in the body.

Research in the field of nephrology varies from investigation of the functioning of specialized kidney cells to best options for kidney transplant.

At the “bench” of kidney disease research

Providence Medical Research Center also has a basic/discovery science laboratory, the “bench” part of research of human disease.

Under the direction of Katherine Tuttle, MD, the laboratory focuses on diabetic kidney disease (DKD) and uses cell biology and molecular technologies to investigate mechanisms of cellular damage and death in specialized kidney cells. Our team collaborates with investigators at the University of Washington utilizing animal models of diabetic kidney disease to validate laboratory findings in the hope to make discoveries that aid in early detection or treatment of DKD.

Spokane Medical Research Spotlighted in the NEJM

On November 9, 2013, the New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial, “New Therapies for Diabetic Kidney Disease,” by Jonathan Himmelfarb, MD, FASN, professor of Medicine, University of Washington and Katherine Tuttle, MD, Providence executive director for Research and clinical professor of Medicine, University of Washington, following the late-breaking clinical trials session at the American Society of Nephrology annual meeting in Atlanta.

Drs. Tuttle and Himmelfarb sound an alarm about the global pandemic of diabetic kidney disease (DKD), now the most common cause of kidney disease leading to premature death and end-stage renal disease in the developed and developing worlds. Failure rates of new therapies are extraordinarily high, >90% overall in clinical trials. Novel therapeutic approaches for DKD are urgently needed given its monumental human and societal costs.

Watch a Video about Spokane Kidney Disease Research