A group of Swiss scientists have developed a new test that
has the ability to identify individuals who are predisposed to forming calcium
deposits in their blood vessels and body tissues.
It is very common for chronic
kidney disease (CKD) patients who are undergoing dialysis to die from
cardiovascular disease due to vascular calcification, a condition where calcium
gets deposited in the blood vessels. This calcification is a part of the
extra-skeletal calcification, which affects different types of soft tissues in
patients with CKD.
The consequences of calcification
involve a variety of hemodynamic factors but the single most common risk factor
is hyperphosphatemia (phosphorus
retention), which can be fatal.
One of the best ways to counter
this problem is to monitor for vascular calcification on a regular basis.
Presently there are no tools available to measure an individual's calcification
Andreas Pasch and his colleagues
of the University Hospital and University of Bern, Switzerland, have developed
a new assay with the help of which they found that the blood of mice that is
deficient in a type of protein, and the blood of CKD patients who are
undergoing dialysis have a reduced potential to prevent the process of
calcification in comparison to the blood of healthy volunteers.
The scientists believe that the
new test may identify patients at risk for calcification. It can function as a
significant tool for identifying and testing calcification inhibitors and
eventually be able to pave way for better treatment in patients who harbor
The scientists involved in the study include
Stefan Farese, Steffen Graber, Johanna Wald, Walter Richtering, Jurgen Floege
and Willi Jahnen-Dechent. The study has been reported in the Journal of the American Society of