San Francisco Researcher Receives National Kidney Foundation Satellite Dialysis Clinical Investigator Grant

Study Analyzes Weight Trajectory and Outcomes in Patients with Kidney Disease
New York—Wednesday, September 13, 2017– Elaine Ku, MD, of San Francisco, CA, has been awarded the 2017 Satellite Dialysis Clinical Investigator Grant by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) for her research that examines a phenomenon described as the “obesity paradox.” According to Dr. Ku, obesity among adult chronic hemodialysis patients has been associated with a survival advantage compared to adult patients of normal weight. Yet, obesity in children on dialysis has not been associated with a lower risk of death compared to child patients of normal weight.
This is the second straight year Dr. Ku has received a grant for this study as part of the NKF Young Investigator Research Grant Program, which strives to improve the quality of life for those with kidney disease by funding promising young scientists in their research to discover the causes of kidney disease, how to prevent its progression and ways to improve treatment for those living with it today.
Dr. Ku is Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology and Pediatric Nephrology at the UCSF School of Medicine. Her objectives for this year’s NKF grant are twofold: to characterize weight trajectory in adults versus children with kidney disease; and to examine the association between weight change before dialysis and the risk of death after dialysis in adults.
“It is such an honor to receive this grant, and I feel very fortunate to have the support of NKF two years in a row,” Dr. Ku said. “I am excited to be able to continue research in this area.”  Dr. Ku expects the results of her study to help providers and patients better understand the role that weight changes plays in outcomes of patients with chronic kidney disease. The ultimate goals are to develop interventions that may help improve the nutritional status of patients and to see whether mitigating weight loss will lead to better survival or delayed progression of kidney disease.
“It’s critical that we stay on the front lines of clinical science that discovers better ways to treat and fight kidney disease,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant recipient. “It’s our responsibility and privilege to support researchers whose cutting-edge work can lead to real breakthroughs for each one of the millions of kidney patients like me.”
Kidney Disease Facts
30 million American adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it. 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history of kidney failure. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end-stage renal disease (kidney failure).

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information about NKF visit