Some entrepreneurs, like Pathway Genomics founder Jim Plante, have a deep interest in medical research and devote their careers to supporting this work. More recently, Mr. Plante founded Klotho Therapeutics to continue medical research and advancements in delaying and preventing diseases often connected with aging. Kidney disease and dementia are two examples.
Chronic kidney disease does not just affect senior citizens. It sometimes develops in younger adults and even in children. Much of each patient’s free time is lost to the need for regular dialysis treatments. Eventually, patients face the prospect of not being able to survive much longer without a kidney transplant.
Questions to Be Answered
In regard to research on how genetic structure relates to kidney disease, scientists have many questions they would like to see answered. They want to be able to determine how certain genetic mutations affect the clinical outcome for patients. They want to discover which genes are associated with different levels of severity in different types of kidney disease. What sorts of DNA damage have negative effects on kidney function? These are just a few of the questions that scientists are hoping to see answered as soon as possible.
The Usefulness of Genetic Testing
In regard to medical conditions, the field of genetics can be viewed as a diagnostic and predictive tool as well as a potential treatment strategy. In some instances, a diagnosis is definitive. For example, if a person carries a genetic marker for Huntington’s disease, this verifies that the disease will assuredly develop at some point if the individual lives long enough. In other cases, genetic testing indicates a higher risk factor. That is the situation with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and certain kinds of cancer.
In a sense, some of this research is about anti-aging. It’s not necessarily a quest to look eternally young, but rather to stay in excellent health through the elderly years. If scientists can figure out how to prevent or substantially delay debilitating physical and mental disorders, people’s lives will be dramatically improved. They might completely expect that if they live into their late 80s or 90s that they will still be physically fit and mentally sharp.