September 13, 2017

CHOP, Penn Medicine join forces in national study of kidney stones

Study seeks to address rising prevalence in American children

Research Kidney Stones
01142016_kidney_stones_xray_iStock stockdevil/iStock

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The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Penn Medicine have been selected by the National Institutes of Health to join a research network to study kidney stones and their prevention.

Billed as the largest-ever study of urinary stone disease, the Philadelphia medical centers will partner at one of five NIH sites to administer a randomized clinical trial known as the Prevention of Urinary Stones with Hydration (PUSH) study.

While just one in nine Americans has suffered from kidney stones, research out of CHOP last year found an alarming rise in the incidence among children, specifically females and African-Americans. CHOP urologist Gregory Tasian received the 2016 Young Physician-Scientist Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation for his related research on the relationship between climate change and kidney stones.

Tasian will join Penn Medicine nephrologist and epidemiologist Peter Reese in leading the Philadelphia site of the Urinary Stone Disease Research Network (USDRN). A five-year grant will provide about $450,000 per year as the clinical trial aims to promote healthy hydration.

The prevalence of kidney stones, an excruciating and expensive condition, has nearly doubled over the past 15 years.

Participants in the PUSH study will use a "smart" water bottle that connects to a smartphone app and measures their fluid consumption. The primary goal of the study is to determine whether personalized fluid goals, a financial incentive program and advice from a health coach will reduce kidney stone reoccurrence over a two-year period.

Tasian said the USDRN study is significant because it marks the first large randomized trial to include pediatric patients.

"As the largest children’s hospital in the USDRN, CHOP and our Pediatric Kidney Stone Center will contribute substantially to our knowledge of how to best treat children with kidney stones,” said Tasian.

“Millions of Americans suffer from kidney stones each year and it’s extremely common for these stones to recur," added Reese. "This study brings much-needed attention and resources to the key question: How can we ensure our patients drink enough fluids to prevent kidney stones from coming back?”

Children participating in PUSH must be at least 12 years old, have had at least one symptomatic stone in the past three years, have a low 24-hour urine volume and own a smartphone, among other eligibility criteria. Those interested in learning more about the clinical trial can find information here.