National Kidney Foundation Launches New Phase of Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP), Names Amgen Inc. KEEP Principal Sponsor

San Diego, CA
November 14, 2006

After screening Americans at risk for the past 10 years, the National Kidney Foundation is enhancing its Kidney Early Evaluation Program with Amgen Inc. as its principal sponsor. KEEP will now bring new screening strategies to the program and more broadly address the link between chronic kidney disease (CKD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The National Kidney Foundation made the announcement today at the American Society of Nephrology Annual Meeting, the world’s largest gathering of kidney specialists.

KEEP is a free kidney health screening program designed to help people at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) receive early diagnosis and treatment. Research shows that treating CKD at an early stage, especially when diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiovascular diseases is present, can improve outcomes.

“KEEP has been finding early kidney disease and advising treatments that can lower risk and improve lives,” said Allan Collins, MD, president of the National Kidney Foundation. “The relationship with Amgen is enabling us to expand the scope of KEEP so that we can reach more Americans and follow participants over an extended period of time.”

One in nine American adults- more than 20 million people- have CKD and another 20 million are at increased risk of CKD. The prevalence is even more pronounced among people with CVD. Risk factors for CKD include diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of diabetes and CKD. African Americans, American Indians, older Americans and Hispanics are especially at risk. Death from CVD is 10-30 times higher in those with advanced CKD who require dialysis than in the general population. Research shows that frequency of cardiovascular complications and the progression of CKD can be modified with appropriate and early intervention.

The National Kidney Foundation has appointed a new multidisciplinary KEEP steering committee combining expertise in nephrology, cardiology, diabetes specialists and primary care physicians to underscore the profound connection between those at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CKD.

The new steering committee, chaired by George Bakris, MD, a nephrologist and board certified specialist in hypertension at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, and Peter
A. McCullough MD, a cardiologist at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan whose research interest lies in CKD as a cardiovascular risk, will focus on leveraging patients’ knowledge of their cardiovascular risk to drive awareness of the significance of CKD in a high risk population.

“Amgen is proud to be the principal sponsor of KEEP, which promises to further our joint mission to better understand and improve the lives of patients with CKD,” said Robert M. Brenner, MD, Senior Director of Nephrology Medical Affairs, Amgen Inc. “…we believe KEEP represents the seminal CKD screening program in the U.S. We are confident that KEEP will increase our understanding of CKD and CVD via the combined efforts of the NKF, participating health care professionals, patients and industry.”

Key Findings from the first 10 years of KEEP:

  • Nearly 30% of KEEP participants are found to have CKD, yet only two percent knew they were even at risk prior to attending the screening
  • More than 30% of KEEP participants have diabetes
  • Nearly 69% of KEEP participants have elevated blood pressure
  • Nearly 86% of participants have a cardiovascular disease risk factor
  • KEEP participants with later stages of CKD are most likely to be anemic; risk of anemia is greater among those with diabetes
  • 67% of KEEP participants report seeing a physician after the screening to discuss test results, including elevated blood pressure, anemia, urine test abnormalities

KEEP participant Connie Gilmore of Newark, New Jersey, is African American and over 70, yet she didn’t realize she could be at risk. “I always thought of myself as the picture of health,” says Gilmore. KEEP tests revealed blood sugar and blood pressure problems and that she had protein in the urine - one of the earliest signs of kidney disease. “After I got over the shock, I began to focus on the kidney damage,” says Gilmore, “I’m taking the right blood pressure medicine and have asked my doctor to monitor my kidney function regularly.”

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to the prevention of kidney and urinary tract disease, improving the health and well-being of patients and families affected by these diseases and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation. For information on KEEP and a current schedule of screening events visit www.keeponline.org.

Amgen is joining associate sponsor Abbott Laboratories in supporting KEEP’s expanded objectives. Additional support for KEEP is provided by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Inc., Ortho Biotech, Inc., Bayer Diagnostics, Lifescan, Inc., Suplena, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.