From the Urology Care Foundation: National Kidney Month and YOUR Urology Care Foundation: Educating Patients and Supporting Research

By: Harris M. Nagler, MD, FACS | Posted on: 01 Mar 2021

Did you know March is National Kidney Month? Many of us take our kidneys for granted. After all, they do what they should do, until they do not, or until something happens–a stone, tumor etc. This time of year, the Urology Care Foundation brings kidney health education to the top of our patients’ attention through robust patient education efforts. These include patient-focused Web articles, fact sheets, podcasts and videos.

Some of our most popular kidney health resources from the past year include:

In addition to educating patients about their kidney health, the Foundation has funded several investigators focused on driving lasting improvements in the lives of patients facing kidney issues. I’d like to celebrate 3 of these bright investigators and share with you some highlights of their work:

Vijaya Vemulakonda, MD–Dr. Vemulakonda specializes in treating pediatric urological conditions, and one of her primary research interests is finding better ways to treat infants born with ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction. UPJ obstruction occurs when there is a blockage in the patient’s ureter where it joins the kidney, which restricts the flow of urine and can lead to swelling of the kidney.

With the combined support of a Foundation Rising Stars in Urology Research Award and an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Career Development Award, Dr. Vemulakonda is exploring how different factors influence treatment variations in infants with suspected UPJ obstruction.

Benjamin K. Canales, MD–With support provided by a Foundation Rising Stars in Urology Research Award, Dr. Canales worked with a team at the University of Florida to create a model of enteric hyperoxaluria to better understand the development of urinary stones in humans and find a cure. Their collaborative efforts ultimately discovered that the gut bacteria Oxalobacter formigenes could bring urine oxalate back down to a normal level, thereby reducing the incidence of kidney stone formation.

Dirk Lange, PhD–Dr. Lange is a 2013 Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar and is now the Director of Basic Science Research at the Stone Centre at Vancouver General Hospital, where he has developed a research program to improve the lives of patients suffering from kidney stone disease. More than 80% of patients with indwelling stents complain of severe pain and discomfort, resulting in stents being removed too soon and putting the patient at risk for complications due to obstruction. Dr. Lange is working to address this issue by exploring how the ureter responds to indwelling stents.

Looking Forward

Despite an increasingly competitive and difficult funding environment, we know the future is bright for kidney health research, thanks to you. With strong allies supporting our research and patient education missions every step of the way, our commitment to this work simply does not waver.

Our commitments to kidney health research and urological health overall remain at the forefront of research because of you. Learn more by visiting UrologyHealth.org/Donate today. We hope you are equally committed and willing to support these efforts.

  1. Urology Care Foundation: Living Healthy: Fight Kidney Stones with Food Cookbook. Available at https://urologyhealth.org/educational-materials/kidney-cookbook.
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