News Brief
August 12, 2013

Penn to Continue as Leader of Landmark NIH Kidney Disease Study

PHILADELPHIA — Penn Medicine will continue to act as the Scientific and Data Coordinating Center (SDCC) for the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) study for five more years, thanks to the expansion of a National Institutes of Health grant. 

The CRIC study is a major national research effort—the Perelman School of Medicine leads a thirteen-institution consortium of academic medical centers — making fundamental insights into the epidemiology, management, and outcomes of chronic kidney disease (CKD).  The CRIC Study started over 10 years ago.

Extensive clinical data and biological samples from study participants will continue to be collected and housed in CRIC’s SDCC at Penn, and made readily available for use by the wider kidney research community.

Harold I. Feldman, MD, MSCE, Interim Director of PSOM’s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB), is both principal investigator of CRIC’s SDCC and Chair of its Steering Committee.  Raymond Townsend, MD, Professor of Medicine, is the principal investigator of the CRIC recruitment site located at Penn.  The CCEB’s Clinical Research Computing Unit provides extensive coordination and data support for the CRIC Study, which represents one of its largest coordinating center projects.

“For the last 10 years, we’ve made numerous important contributions to the understanding of chronic kidney disease, and the expansion of the NIH grant will allow us continue on that track,” said Dr. Feldman. “The next five years will focus on identifying risk factors for progression of early stage CKD, the health experience of older populations with kidney disease, and the roles CKD may play in other diseases. As well, during this next phase, we will enroll an additional 1,500 study participants, increasing the size of the CRIC Study to nearly 5,500 individuals.  As before, the CRIC study will ensure that investigators from around the nation will have an opportunity to tap into the rich study data we have collected to pursue their own research goals.”

New findings have already emerged from the CRIC study. For example, reporting in JAMA in 2011, researchers from Penn Medicine and the University of Miami discovered that a high level of fibroblast growth factor 23, a hormone that regulates the amount of phosphate in the blood, was linked to a significantly increased risk of death and kidney failure.

"FGF23 is one of the strongest predictors of poor outcomes among CRIC Study participants all of whom have CKD," said Dr. Feldman. "FGF23 represents an exciting new possible target for therapies that could reduce the enormous burden of disease in this population."

The CRIC study is supported under NIH grant U01DK060990.

For the full NIH release on the grant expansion, please visit here. More information can also be obtained at www.cristudy/org.

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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2013, Penn Medicine provided $814 million to benefit our community.

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