Treating Chronic Kidney Disease Patients With New Clay Technique Found To Have Milder Side Effects

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Jim Myers, Statewide Advocate for the National Kidney Foundation, notes in the NWI Times that in  America alone "26 million American adults are estimated to have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)" and "Nearly 600,000 Americans have irreversible kidney disease or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), which requires dialysis or a transplant to survive." When suffering from ESRD, dialysis patients' bodies are unable to filter out phosphates in sufficient quantities, and the resulting excess is then absorbed into the blood. This may cause a build-up of calcium-phosphate deposits in blood vessels which can lead to heart disease, heart attack, stroke and premature death in those with ESRD.

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Compared to people with healthy kidneys, people who have ESRD are "at least ten times more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke," according to MedicalXpress.com. To counteract this increased risk, people suffering from ESRD are required to take phosphate binders with meals because they bind to phosphates from food so that they do not absorb into the blood. However, a major problem with existing medications such as calcium and aluminum binders is that they often cause serious side-effects including constipation, hypercalcemia (an elevated level of calcium in the blood), and neurologic (brain) disorders.

Recommended Reading: Mineral Found To Drastically Boost Protection Against Heart Attack, Stroke And Death In CKD Patients

Yet new research offers hope as scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology in Germany have developed an effective therapeutic agent that patients can tolerate much better than current standard binders. Formed by marine deposits of volcanic ash 60 billion years ago, clay minerals provide high phosphate-binding capacity and prove to be "just as effective as traditional pharmaceutical binders." They can lower renal patients’ elevated phosphate levels while offering only very mild side-effects, says Prof. Dr. Steffen Mitzner, head of the Working Group on Extracorporeal Immunomodulation in Rostock and Professor of Nephrology. 

Recommended Reading: Certain Phosphate Binders Increase Risk of Heart Attack and Death Among CKD Patients

What's more is that animal trials were scheduled for completion by the end of 2013, and the scientists expect to be able to start passing on the benefits of the new agent to the first patients when clinical trials begin in early 2014. For more up to date, daily news related to improving your life while on dialysis, ways to get a transplant sooner, and other breaking CKD related news, visit KidneyBuzz.com regularly as well as Follow us on Twitter @kidneybuzz and "Like" our Facebook Fan Page. 

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References: 

"Treating Chronic Kidney Disease Using Clay Minerals." Health News RSS. Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Myers, Jim. "GUEST COMMENTARY: Early Detection Is Important for Chronic Kidney Disease." Nwitimes.com. NWI Times.

"Treating Chronic Kidney Disease Using Clay Minerals." Http://medicalxpress.com. Medical Xpress.