Frequent kidney dialysis is essential for the approximately 350,000 end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients in the United States. But it can also cause systemic inflammation, leading to complications such as cardiovascular disease and anemia, and patients who rely on the therapy have a five-year survival rate of only 35 percent. Such inflammation can be triggered when the complement cascade, part of the body’s innate immune system, is inadvertently activated by modern polymer-based dialysis blood filters. New work by Penn researchers has found an effective way to avoid these problems by temporarily suppressing complement during dialysis. Their work appears online in Immunobiology ahead of print.
This image shows the structure of a compstatin molecule.
Credit: Daniel Ricklin, PhD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
The research was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (AI068730, AI030040, AI097805) and the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (602699).