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Specimens Drive Discovery in Kidney Disease Testing

December 4, 2019

Doctor sitting at desk

At iSpecimen, we often remind one another that “specimens are data.”

That’s helpful shorthand for the important principle that any human biospecimen – blood, cells or tissue – can yield myriad valuable data points about the patient from whom it was derived. When aggregated across populations, that data can give us important insights for medical care.

Case in point: Using data from the records of more than 400,000 patients in the UK Biobank, researchers from the University of Glasgow say they’ve been able to determine which of three kidney function tests is the most effective at predicting cardiovascular risk, which is associated with chronic kidney disease.

“Our findings indicate that patients would benefit from the added predictive value of using a test called the cystatin C test,” said Dr. Jennifer Lees from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences. “We would hope to see it adopted as the primary method for diagnosis of chronic kidney disease – particularly for those patients with cardiovascular disease risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension or obesity.”

Paddy Mark, University of Glasgow professor of nephrology, added, “For a relatively low cost – about £2.50 per test – doctors can use this test to gain a much clearer understanding of a patient’s kidney health, as well as cardiovascular risk. With this knowledge, doctors can identify and treat risk factors earlier and, hopefully, save more lives in the process.”

The value of biobanking

Experts think that more than 1 in 7 U.S. adults, or about 30 million people, have chronic kidney disease (disease lasting longer than 3 months), according to the CDC. Most people with kidney disease don’t know they have it. For the patient, the cystatin C test is a simple blood test.

This research exemplifies the value of biobanking – in this case, collecting specimens from large numbers of patients and analyzing those specimens to drive surprising insights. Our mission is helping biobanks and other organizations who handle human biospecimens turn their specimens into data – and most importantly, data into discovery.

Learn about the iSpecimen Marketplace where you can browse millions of richly annotated, de-identified human tissue and biofluid biospecimens, in addition to hematopoietic and immune cell products. You can join for free and creating a login is easy. Request a quote or custom collection today.

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