Expertscape is pleased to speak with Dr. Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, an Expertscape World Expert in numerous nephrology topics, and specifically in chronic renal failure. Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh is Chief of Nephrology, Hypertension and Kidney Transplantation at the University of California Irvine, School of Medicine. We discussed the latest advancements in the area of kidney health and what we can expect in the future. You can follow his work on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Expertscape: What do you consider to be the most significant advancement in kidney research, and what has that impact been?

Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh: We’re excited by a number of discoveries when it comes to kidney health, but three that are especially notable are 1) the impact of nutrition and diet on kidney health, 2) the ability to avoid or postpone dialysis through the use of various novel therapies, and 3) the possibility of applying an incremental transition to dialysis as a way to improve the patient’s overall well-being. These three areas promise to have tremendous benefits to both the patient and the overall healthcare system.

Expertscape: Make a prediction for us. What do you think will be the next big discovery in the study and treatment of kidney disease and what will that mean for those afflicted?

Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh: We’re going to more fully understand and be able to take advantage of the impact that dietary modulation has on the management of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), as well as how it will enhance primary, secondary and tertiary prevention efforts. Think of this as conservative and preservative management of kidney disease.

Expertscape: Do you have any specific advice for those now entering healthcare, and particularly those interested in this area of research and care?

Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh: I would advise people to review both old and contemporary data. There is a lot of older research work that is still relevant, and that can be reinvigorated and advanced.

Expertscape: Our users may wonder: “There are plenty of kidney specialists near me. Are there particular considerations that warrant traveling a distance to see a world expert?”

Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh: It may if the patient isn’t responding well to treatments or has particularly challenging or complex circumstances. UCI Health has an active caseload of patients that travel from other cities or states, and even other countries. We have patient-friendly facilities, and of course we’re located in beautiful southern California, so a pleasant visit with excellent hotels nearby and lots to do. At the same time, we’ve found telehealth consultations to be quite effective for those who wish to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. In both instances, we consult or coordinate with their primary care physician on various aspects of their care plan and prognosis.

Expertscape: What are you working on now, and what to you hope to discover?

Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh: We’re particularly focused on understanding the impact that nutrition and diet have on kidney health, with emphasis on precision medicine and precision nutrition. Areas of interest that we’re exploring include patient centeredness, enhanced nutritional status, improved quality of life, effective symptom management, living well with kidney disease and longevity. Diet and nutrition are directly linked to overall health, and specifically kidney health, and we’re seeing very promising results in our work.

Expertscape: Let’s talk about UC Irvine Health. What would you like to mention?

Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh: UCI Health is a fast-rising center of excellence across a number of specialties and conditions. UCI Health has become a pioneering center in kidney health research, and are also one of the fastest growing kidney transplant programs in the country. As important, my UCI colleagues are making similarly important advancements in many other areas of medical research and care, and that has been especially inspiring and motivating.

Expertscape: What makes your work in chronic kidney disease research so rewarding?

Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh: It is estimated that 10-15% of all adults have chronic kidney disease, which means there are millions of people for whom their care and well-being management has been a challenge. To be able to see firsthand the improvement in a person’s life is personally rewarding. And second, to be able to work with so many talented researchers and clinicians makes the challenges that CKD present worth the effort.

Expertscape: Thank you for your time, Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh. This is an encouraging conversation, and keep up the good work!

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