UHealth’s Polycystic Kidney Disease Clinic Named a Center of Excellence
The national Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation has recognized a nephrology clinic at the University of Miami Health System as a Center of Excellence for its comprehensive care for patients.
The designation recognizes UHealth’s Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) Clinic. It is one of just 28 Centers of Excellence named nationwide and one of just two in Florida, together with the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, the PKD Foundation said in unveiling its inaugural selections.
The recognition means not only professional prestige for UHealth and the Miller School of Medicine. It should also make it easier for patients to identify the University and its resources when seeking care for PKD and should bolster opportunities for collaboration and funding for kidney disease research and programs, said specialists with the clinic.
“This designation increases our visibility nationally,” said Yelena Drexler, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and director of the ADPKD Clinic. “It will increase patient referrals and our engagement with the PKD Foundation and the local PKD community, including participation in educational and patient advocacy initiatives.”
Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited condition in which clusters of cysts, or fluid-filled sacs, develop in the kidneys. As the cysts multiply, they can cause the kidneys to enlarge and lose their function, leading to such problems as high blood pressure and kidney failure. The condition is the fourth leading cause of end-stage kidney disease in the U.S. Symptoms often develop for patients in their 30s or 40s.
UHealth’s PKD Center provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and individualized care for patients, including genetic testing, counseling, and the opportunity for patients to participate in clinical trials. The clinic was started in 2019, shortly after federal authorities approved the drug tolvaptan to slow kidney function decline in adults at risk of rapidly progressing ADPKD. Over the past year, the ADPKD Clinic has provided services to more than 200 individuals across multiple University facilities. Many patients received care after a kidney transplant; more than half were Hispanic, a group underserved nationally.
“Educational and community resources are culturally sensitive, and the group demonstrates a commitment to quality care,” the PKD Foundation said in detailing why the clinic was deemed a Center of Excellence.
Plans for a Center for Therapeutic Innovation for Kidney Health
The designation adds impetus for UHealth and the Miller School’s kidney specialists to launch new initiatives, faculty said.
“As each PKD patient experiences a unique progression towards dialysis and kidney transplantation, it is becoming imperative to implement precision medicine approaches to care for affected patients. In order to achieve this goal, we are actively working towards the establishment of a Center for Therapeutic Innovation for Kidney Health,” said Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D., FASN, Katz Professor of Medicine and chief of the Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension.
The recognition also boosts possibilities for new collaborations and resources, clinicians added.
“This is a great opportunity for our division,” said Efren Chavez Morales, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and co-director of the ADPKD Clinic. “I believe the designation can be a platform to receive funded research for future PKD-related trials and will make it easier to stay in communication with the PKD community.”
The Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension is named for the family of Peggy Katz, who sought treatment for PKD at the University in 2000 and received a transplant three years later. Since then, her family has been supporting research and programs at the Miller School, and in 2016 made a $10 million commitment to ensure long-term resources to help understand and fight kidney disease.
Tags: Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease Clinic, Dr. Alessia Fornoni, Dr. Efren Chavez Morales, Dr. Yelena Drexler, Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Miller School of Medicine, Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation, UHealth - University of Miami Health System