Zoe Kibbelaar: Research Collaboration Thriving at Kidney Week


Investigators from many different fields, including nephrology, oncology, and cardiology, come together to collaborate at Kidney Week.

Many investigators come to meetings like the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Kidney Week in Washington, D.C., to collaborate with other researchers in an effort to foster better clinical trials in the future.

Zoe Kibbelaar, clinical research coordinator, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, presented data during the meeting on a new study showing the pathologic features of immune checkpoint inhibitor-associate acute kidney injuries, a growing problem in both nephrology and oncology.

In an interview with MD Magazine®, Kibbelaar explained how important it is for different types of investigators to come together for studies.

MD Magazine: What do you believe the impact of your study will be?

Kibbelaar: Yeah, so this study was a great starting point and through it we've you know been able to work with 18 hospitals. But it's by no means the end.

So, we met yesterday with all of the authors on this manuscript who are here today to talk about future collaborations. I think 1 big thing we're interested in for example is what happens to patients who develop an acute kidney injury after a checkpoint inhibitor and then are rechallenged with the checkpoint inhibitor afterwards.

Does that second sort of treatment cause the AKI to recur and if not why? So that's something that we had, we're particularly interested in terms of next steps for our study as well as just increasing the number of patients that we’re able to analyze, the number of cases.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors are like I said a fairly new drug and so I think that as time goes on and as more and more people get treated with them we'll be able to learn some new insights.

MD Magazine: How important is collaboration in nephrology research?

Kibbelaar: My perspective has been limited to research and I think that we can learn a lot of lessons from the collaboration that I've seen in this project with relationship research.

Sort of relating to your earlier question about this talk between different disciplines and I think that's something that's important in research and it's also something that's important in patient care.

We noticed that through our case series while most of the people, most of the patients who are included in our study were seen by a nephrologist in addition to oncologist, that's not necessarily true.

The limited sample size made us not able to see sort of whether those who had a nephrology consult fared better in their outcomes long-term than those who weren't seen by a nephrologist.

I think that there is a value in these varied perspectives and approaches on both in terms of research and clinical care.

MD Magazine: How important is it to come a meeting like Kidney Week to try to foster collaboration?

Kibbelaar: Yeah, I think it's incredibly important. This is my first ASN, so just even through small things like walking around and seeing just how many thousands of posters there are and people who are interested in interplays between nephrology and a bunch of different fields as well as just sort of chatting to people about what they're interested in has been really impactful.

For me as I continue to think about my future career and what I'm interested in, I think that there is a value in a meeting in person. That's something that you can't necessarily gain from collaborations outside of a setting like this.

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