According to a story from globenewswire.com, Relypsa Inc. said in a recent statement that it has agreed to distribute three research grant awards that are intended to supplement funding for cardiology and nephrology researchers who are pursuing careers focused in hyperkalemia and similar disorders. This biopharmaceutical company focuses on developing treatments for often overlooked diseases that can be addressed in the digestive system. These grants will total $50,000 for a single year. The University of Chicago, the University of Cincinnati, and Emory University will be the recipients of this additional funding.
The term hyperkalemia is used to describe an abnormally high level of potassium in the blood. The elevated potassium state usually does not cause symptoms unless, the concentration is severe. In these instances, symptoms can include muscle weakness and pain, heart palpitations, and numbness. The abnormal heart rate changes can be lethal in some cases, leading to cardiac arrest. There are a number of potential causes of hyperkalemia, such as certain medications, rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle, and kidney failure. The condition rarely occurs on its own, and is usually an effect of another disease. There are a number of measures that can be taken to treat hyperkalemia. Calcium gluconate is a common first step to bring potassium levels back to normal. To learn more about hyperkalemia, click here.
Alain Romero, an official at Relypsa, expects that the funding will be used to improve patient care, educate other health organizations, and encourage awareness of hyperkalemia and the diseases associated with it, such as chronic kidney disease. Many people that experience heart failure have hyperkalemia. The company has three primary areas of research that it hopes to help fund.
These include in improved understanding of hyperkalemia in patients that have received solid organ transplants, investigating the potential relationship between hyperkalemia and fibrosis (scarring) of the kidney during renal disease, and monitoring patients that are using specific treatments in order to treat hyperkalemia. These treatments include renin angiotensin system blockers and mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists.
Hopefully, this research will ultimately improve the ability of caregivers to address hyperkalemia when it appears. This is a potentially dangerous complication, which is estimated to increase the overall risk of death by ten times.