If entrepreneur Jim Plante and his team at Klotho Therapeutics are successful, they will help people with the genetic mutation for polycystic kidney disease delay onset of symptoms until a very late age or prevent the occurrence altogether. Their work involves a gene known as Klotho that is a hormone. Klotho has many functions in the body, and it appears to help prevent degenerative diseases through chemical processes. The body produces much less of this hormone by middle age, and degenerative diseases become markedly more common as people get older.
About Polycystic Kidney Disease
People with this disease develop large numbers of cysts in the kidneys that eventually causes the organs to lose their functional ability. This is a life-threatening consequence because kidneys are crucial for filtering waste from the blood and preventing toxins from building up to lethal levels. When chronic kidney failure develops, the person must receive regular dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant.
Kidney Transplant Difficulties
Trying to acquire a suitable kidney can be difficult. If a close family member is willing to donate, that often is the best solution because of compatibility issues with blood and tissue types. If this is not possible, the person has to be on a waiting list for a transplant opportunity. There is a much greater need for these organs than there are kidneys available for transplant.
When Dialysis Becomes Essential
Dialysis becomes essential when kidneys only retain about 10 percent of their function. That is not enough to remove waste from the blood, as well as salt and excess fluids from the body, and have these substances pass through urine. Dialysis also maintains blood chemical balance since the kidneys no longer are able to do so.
About 30 million people in the United States alone suffer from chronic kidney disease of one form or another. Around 468,000 are receiving dialysis treatments, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Most people live less than 10 years while on dialysis, which is why the demand for kidney transplants is so high. About 83 percent of dialysis patients are older than 44 years of age.