Precision medicine approaches for diabetic kidney disease: opportunities and challenges

Sok Cin Tye, Petra Denig, Hiddo J L Heerspink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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The prevalence of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) continuously increases worldwide. The increasing prevalence parallels the growth in the number of people with diabetes, which is the leading cause of ESKD. Early diagnosis of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in patients with diabetes and appropriate intervention is important to delay the progression of kidney function decline and prevent ESKD. Rate of CKD progression and response to treatment varies among patients with diabetes, highlighting the need to tailor individual treatment. In this review, we describe recent advances and areas for future studies with respect to precision medicine in diabetic kidney disease (DKD). DKD is a multi-factorial disease that is subject in part to genetic heritability, but is also influenced by various exogenous mediators, such as environmental or dietary factors. Genetic testing so far has limited utility to facilitate early diagnosis, classify progression or evaluate response to therapy. Various biomarker-based approaches are currently explored to identify patients at high risk of ESKD and to facilitate decision-making for targeted therapy. These studies have led to discovery and validation of a couple of inflammatory proteins such as circulating tumour necrosis factor receptors, which are strong predictors of kidney disease progression. Moreover, risk and drug-response scores based on multiple biomarkers are developed to predict kidney disease progression and long-term drug efficacy. These findings, if implemented in clinical practice, will pave the way to move from a one-size-fits-all to a one-fit-for-everyone approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalNephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation
Issue numberSupplement_2
Publication statusPublished - 22-Jun-2021


  • chronic kidney disease
  • diabetic kidney disease
  • nephropathy
  • personalized medicine

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