Better Options for Treating Chronic Kidney Disease in Children

In partnership with Emory University School of Medicine, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Nephrology Program is dedicated to conducting research that can make a difference in the lives of children with chronic kidney disease (CKD).Our experts researches participate in and lead clinical, translational and basic science research, giving children with kidney disease better treatment options and access to innovative therapies.

We are involved in:

  • Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD): Now entering its 15th year of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, this study has fundamentally changed our understanding of the effects of CKD on the growth and development of children.
  • Nephrotic Syndrome Study Network (NEPTUNE): This NIH-funded study brings together physicians, scientists and patient advocacy groups across North America to advance the research on nephrotic syndrome. As one of the major causes of kidney failure in children, nephrotic syndrome occurs when the kidney filtering system allows too much protein to leak into the urine. Researchers are trying to understand the causes of nephrotic syndrome so that they can develop a more personalized approach to treatment.
  • Cure Glomerulonephropathy (CureGN): Co-led by our faculty, this NIH-funded study seeks to advance research and understand the causes of glomerular disease that affects the filters of the kidney. This is the largest long-term observational study without treatment for children with minimal change disease, FSGS, lgA nephropathy, Henoch-Schoenlein purpura and membranous nephropathy.

Other areas our researchers are investigating include:

  • Developing and using an app to help patients and families manage nephrotic syndrome.
  • Understanding how rare kidney diseases impact children.
  • Improving outcomes for children with CKD and children receiving dialysis.
  • Improving the quality of care for children who have undergone kidney transplants, including innovative use of medicine to prevent rejection and developing less-invasive tests to diagnose rejection.
  • Supporting teens and young adults who have undergone kidney transplants in managing their condition and transitioning to adult-centered care.
  • Identifying strategies to help prevent heart damage when a child has also been diagnosed with CKD.
  • Preventing kidney injury caused by medicine in hospitalizing children.

Researchers at Children's are currently testing new treatments for:

  • Alport's syndrome
  • Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS)
  • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)
  • Bone disease during CKD (hyperparathyroidism)
  • Distal renal tubular acidosis (dRTA)
  • Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)
  • High phosphorus in children on dialysis 
  • High potassium in children with CKD 

Learn more about nephrology at Children's

Advancements in pediatric kidney research

Larry Greenbaum, MD, PhD, FAAP, a Pediatric Nephrologist and Chief of Pediatric Nephrology at Children's, recently presented the results of a study testing a new medicine for treating children with aHUS at the International Pediatric Nephrology Association meeting in Venice, Italy. It led to the FDA approving this medication the day before Dr. Greenbaum presented the results of the study. This is the third medication in a decade that has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval because of studies conducted by the Children’s Nephrology Program.

Published articles that led to FDA approval include:

  • Terminal Complement Inhibitor Eculizumab in Atypical Hemolytic–Uremic Syndrome.

    C.M. Legendre, C.M., Licht, C., Muus, P., Greenbaum, L.A., Babu, S., Bedrosian, C., Bingham, C., Cohen, C.J., Delmas, Y., Douglas, K., Eitner, F., Feldkamp, T., Fouque, D., Furman, R.R., Gaber, O., Herthelius, M., Hourmant, M., Karpman, D., Lebranchu, Y., Mariat, C., Menne, J., Moulin, B., Nurnberger, J., Ogawa, M., Remuzzi, G., Richard, T., Sberro-Soussan, R., Severino, B., Sherrin, N.S., Trivelli, A., Zimmerhackl, L.B., Goodship, T., & Loirat, C. N Engl J Med, 368:2169-2181. June 6, 2013. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1208981.