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VIGH receives federal grants to fight kidney disease

Oct. 12, 2017, 9:04 AM

Researchers in the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) have received two new grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) aimed at reducing the risk of kidney disease in HIV-infected adults and improving the treatment of epilepsy in children in Nigeria.

The first grant will provide $3.1 million over five years to support a randomized controlled trial of 2,200 HIV-infected adults on combination antiretroviral therapy who are genetically susceptible to developing kidney-related complications.

The study, which will be conducted at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Kano, Nigeria, will test whether Lisinopril, a widely available drug used to reduce the risk of diabetic kidney disease, also can prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease in genetically at-risk HIV-infected adults.

The principal investigators are C. William Wester, M.D., MPH, professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt, and Muktar Aliyu, M.D., MPH, Dr.P.H, VIGH associate director for Research, associate professor of Health Policy and Medicine at Vanderbilt and associate professor of Family and Community Medicine at Meharry Medical College.

The second award, which will provide $372,000 over two years, addresses a phenomenon known as the ‘epilepsy treatment gap,’ in which up to 90 percent of children with epilepsy in low- and middle-income countries are not receiving consistent and appropriate treatment.

Vanderbilt researchers led by principal investigator Edwin Trevathan, M.D., MPH, professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, and Aliyu, the grant’s co-principal investigator, will establish the BRIDGE program (Bridging the Childhood Epilepsy Treatment Gap in Northern Nigeria) to evaluate ways to improve epilepsy care in low-resource environments.

The BRIDGE program, also based at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, will be run by a multi-disciplinary team of experts. It has the potential to close the childhood epilepsy treatment gap in sub-Saharan Africa and in poor communities around the world, the researchers said.

The NIH grant numbers are DK112271 and TW010899.

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