DURHAM, N.C. – In a finding that could help reduce the racial disparity in kidney disease, Duke Health researchers have detailed how two common gene variants among African Americans can cause kidney failure.

Opeyemi Olabisi, MD (image credit: Duke)

The finding, reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could point to new treatment approaches and advance investigational therapies that block the gene.

“African Americans develop end stage kidney disease at four times the rate of white Americans and represent more than 30% of people on dialysis,” said lead author Opeyemi Olabisi, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. “For more than a decade, we have known that two APOL1 gene variants account for much of the excess risk of non-diabetic kidney failure in African Americans, but we have only a limited understanding of how these variants work. Our study provides that insight.”

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