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Kidney Research UK and Diabetes UK joint statement

Diabetes remains the single most common cause of kidney failure in the UK

Objective of statement: to highlight the seriousness of kidney disease in people with diabetes and our joint intent to address this problem together.

We don’t yet know why some people with diabetes are at a higher risk of kidney disease than others. Kidney disease spotted later can result in poorer health outcomes, with people dying unnecessarily.

The impact is debilitating and life changing.

Lives are lost because of kidney disease. It accounts for 21% of deaths in Type 1 diabetes, and 11% of deaths in Type 2 diabetes [1].

It has a huge impact on quality of life. Diabetes is the single most common cause of end-stage kidney disease in the UK [2]. For new patients needing dialysis or a transplant, 27.5% of cases are a result of diabetic kidney disease [2]. Right now, people in this position are faced with the options of dialysis or transplant (known as renal replacement therapies).

The numbers are rising. More people with diabetes are developing kidney disease. Right now, there are 22,600 people in the UK who have diabetes and need dialysis or a kidney transplant [3]. At least 9,900 people have end-stage kidney failure because of damage directly caused by their diabetes [2].

This needs to change.

We need to find ways to reduce the risk of kidney disease in people with diabetes, and slow its progression. We need to help people with diabetes and healthcare professionals to spot the signs of kidney disease early, and reduce the risk.

We need more effective treatments that can prevent or slow the progression of this devastating condition.

We’re working together to make a difference.

As two leading medical research charities, Kidney Research UK and Diabetes UK are uniquely placed to make a difference in this space. Together, we can protect people with diabetes from kidney disease and help those with the condition to live longer, healthier lives.

Together, Diabetes UK and Kidney Research UK are keen to fund research into the relationship between kidney disease and diabetes, and the development of new treatments. We are open to co-funding research projects in these areas, and would encourage researchers to notify both charities in advance of applying for grant funding.

Both charities have also established Clinical Studies Groups: groups of people living with diabetes or kidney disease, scientists and healthcare professionals working together to identify the most important areas of research moving forward. These Clinical Studies Groups are now collaborating, to ensure that expertise across diabetes and kidney disease are put to the best use, in order to identify research priorities and improve the lives of people with these conditions.

References for statement:

  1. Morrish NJ, Wang SL, Stevens LK et al (2001). Mortality and causes of death in the WHO multinational study of vascular disease in diabetes. Diabetologia 44, suppl 2; s14–s21
  2. Gilg J, Methven S, Casula A, Castledine C. UK Renal Registry 19th Annual Report: Chapter 1. UK RRT Adult Indicence in 2015: National and Centre-specific Analyses. Nephron 2017;137(Suppl 1): 11-44 . Available at
  3. NHS Digital National Diabetes Audit Report 2A 2017: Complications and Mortality applied to Quality Outcomes Framework diabetes prevalence for the UK

Announced: Aug 2018

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