National Kidney Foundation Introduces Plan to Track Patients in National Screening Program
Data Will Inform Efforts to Fight Kidney Disease
Amgen Supports Initiative and Renews Primary Sponsorship of Kidney
Early Evaluation Program (KEEP)
DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 3, 2008--The National Kidney
Foundation and Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) today announced a new initiative of
the Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) that will provide important
data to help communities address the growing prevalence of chronic
kidney disease (CKD). The initiative introduces a participant
follow-up - or "longitudinal" - component to the National Kidney
Foundation's KEEP further strengthening the comprehensive, free kidney
disease screening program. The new initiative is made possible by an
educational grant from Amgen, KEEP's primary sponsor.
Offered at community-based locations across the country, KEEP
provides comprehensive health risk appraisals to assess individuals'
kidney function and key risk factors for the disease, including high
blood pressure and diabetes. The appraisals are based on blood and
urine testing as well as onsite physician consultations. The rapidly
expanding program is expected to screen approximately 40,000 people in
2008 and recently screened its 100,000th participant since the
program's inception in 2000.
"Most of the 26 million people who are living with CKD in the
United States are not even aware that they have it. In fact, our data
shows that only two percent of KEEP participants who were diagnosed
with CKD knew they were at risk for the disease," said Joseph
Vasalotti, M.D., chief medical officer, National Kidney Foundation.
"Early-stage CKD can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are not
usually apparent until the disease progresses to near kidney failure.
Yet research shows that treating kidney disease earlier may help
improve outcomes. For this reason, the continued expansion and
enhancement of KEEP is critical to addressing the public health
concerns posed by CKD."
The new patient follow-up initiative was successfully piloted in
Miami, Minneapolis and East Brookfield, Mass. in 2007. It has two
primary objectives: first, to assess past KEEP participants and
determine improvements in outcomes and, second, to arm community
healthcare providers with outcomes data based on participating
patients' ongoing KEEP results from the follow up. KEEP participants,
including those who participated prior to the introduction of the
follow-up initiative, will be invited back annually for repeat
The patient follow-up initiative joins an extensive list of recent
enhancements to the KEEP program. Among them are:
-- Expansion of the physician educational component through an
annual data report published in the American Journal of Kidney
Diseases and through publication and presentation of KEEP data
at medical meetings and in publications targeted at
nephrologists, cardiologists and endocrinologists.
-- Expansion of KEEP into new geographic regions with a focus on
areas with large populations of at-risk individuals, including
minorities who have higher incidence of the disease.
-- Enhancement of public awareness activities around individual
KEEP screenings and for KEEP overall.
-- Addition of new tests and protocols to increase KEEP's impact
on national health initiatives including obesity and diabetes.
"Early detection and increased awareness of chronic kidney disease
and its causes are essential to helping stem the growing prevalence of
the disease that we've seen in recent years," offered U.S.
Representative Mark Kirk of Illinois, co-chair of the Congressional
Kidney Caucus. "KEEP plays a key role in helping us reach that goal."
CKD is a condition defined by kidney damage and impaired kidney
function that progresses over time. Twenty six million Americans have
some form of CKD with minority populations, particularly Hispanics and
African Americans, at increased risk for the disease. The most common
causes of CKD are high blood pressure, diabetes and a family history
of kidney disease. Early-stage CKD often is not diagnosed because
symptoms are not usually apparent until the later stages of the
disease. When the kidneys fail, dialysis or a kidney transplant is
required to sustain life. Dialysis is the artificial process of
cleaning wastes from the blood when the kidneys can no longer function
"KEEP not only represents the seminal screening program for CKD,
but it also helps the medical community, state and federal governments
and advocacy groups unite to address the growing prevalence of CKD,
particularly among minority communities where the need is greatest,"
said Robert M. Brenner, M.D., executive director, Nephrology Global
Development. "As a pioneer of innovative therapies for patients with
complications of chronic kidney disease, Amgen is proud to be the
primary sponsor of KEEP."
About the National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing kidney
and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of
individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing the
availability of all organs for transplantation. For more information
on kidney disease visit www.kidney.org.
Amgen discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers innovative
human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one
of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by
bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing
plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of
medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight
against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other
serious illnesses. With a deep and broad pipeline of potential new
medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to
dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about our
pioneering science and our vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com.
CONTACT: National Kidney Foundation
Ellie Schlam, 202-889-2210 ext. 143
Amgen, Thousand Oaks
Emma Hurley, 805-447-7845 (media)