National Kidney Foundation Launches New Phase of Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP), Names Amgen Inc. KEEP Principal Sponsor

Nov 14, 2006, 00:00 ET from National Kidney Foundation

    SAN DIEGO, Calif., Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- After screening Americans at
 risk for the past 10 years, the National Kidney Foundation is revitalizing
 its Kidney Early Evaluation Program with Amgen Inc. as its principal
 sponsor. KEEP will now bring new screening strategies to the program and
 more broadly address the link between chronic kidney disease (CKD) and
 cardiovascular disease (CVD). The National Kidney Foundation made the
 announcement today at the American Society of Nephrology Annual Meeting,
 the world's largest gathering of kidney specialists.
     KEEP is a free kidney health screening program designed to help people
 at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) receive early diagnosis and
 treatment. Research shows that treating CKD at an early stage, especially
 when diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiovascular diseases is present,
 can improve outcomes.
     "KEEP has been finding early kidney disease and advising treatments
 that can lower risk and improve lives," said Allan Collins, MD, president
 of the National Kidney Foundation. "The relationship with Amgen is enabling
 us to expand the scope of KEEP so that we can reach more Americans and
 follow participants over an extended period of time."
     One in nine American adults -- more than 20 million people -- have CKD
 and another 20 million are at increased risk of CKD. The prevalence is even
 more pronounced among people with CVD. Risk factors for CKD include
 diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of diabetes and CKD.
 African Americans, older Americans and Hispanics are especially at risk.
 Death from CVD is 10-30 times higher in those with advanced CKD who require
 dialysis than in the general population. Research shows that frequency of
 cardiovascular complications and the progression of CKD can be modified
 with appropriate and early intervention.
     The National Kidney Foundation has appointed a new multidisciplinary
 KEEP steering committee combining expertise in nephrology with cardiology
 to underscore the profound connection between those at risk for
 cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CKD.
     The new steering committee, chaired by George Bakris, MD, a
 nephrologist and board certified specialist in hypertension at Rush
 Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, and Peter
     A. McCullough MD, a cardiologist at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak,
 Michigan whose research interest lies in CKD as a cardiovascular risk, will
 focus on leveraging patients' knowledge of their cardiovascular risk to
 drive awareness of the significance of CKD in a high risk population.
     "Amgen is proud to be the principal sponsor of KEEP, which promises to
 further our joint mission to better understand and improve the lives of
 patients with CKD," said Robert M. Brenner, MD, Senior Director of
 Nephrology Medical Affairs, Amgen Inc. " ... we believe KEEP represents the
 seminal CKD screening program in the U.S. We are confident that KEEP will
 increase our understanding of CKD and CVD via the combined efforts of the
 NKF, participating health care professionals, patients and industry."
     Key Findings from the first 10 years of KEEP:
     * Nearly 30% of KEEP participants are found to have CKD, yet only two
       percent knew they were even at risk prior to attending the screening
     * More than 30% of KEEP participants have diabetes
     * Nearly 69% of KEEP participants have elevated blood pressure
     * Nearly 86% of participants have a cardiovascular disease risk factor
     * KEEP participants with later stages of CKD are most likely to be anemic;
       risk of anemia is greater among those with diabetes
     * 67% of KEEP participants report seeing a physician after the screening
       to discuss test results, including elevated blood pressure, anemia,
       urine test abnormalities
     KEEP participant Connie Gilmore of Newark, New Jersey, is African
 American and over 70, yet she didn't realize she could be at risk. "I
 always thought of myself as the picture of health," says Gilmore. KEEP
 tests revealed blood sugar and blood pressure problems and that she had
 protein in the urine -- one of the earliest signs of kidney disease. "After
 I got over the shock, I began to focus on the kidney damage," says Gilmore,
 "I'm taking the right blood pressure medicine and have asked my doctor to
 monitor my kidney function regularly."
     The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to the prevention of kidney
 and urinary tract disease, improving the health and well-being of patients
 and families affected by these diseases and increasing the availability of
 all organs for transplantation. For information on KEEP and a current
 schedule of screening events visit
     Amgen is joining associate sponsor Abbott Laboratories in supporting
 KEEP's expanded objectives. Additional support for KEEP is provided by
 Novartis Pharmaceuticals Inc., Ortho Biotech, Inc., Bayer Diagnostics,
 Lifescan, Inc., Suplena, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.

SOURCE National Kidney Foundation