Unveiling the Stealthy Nature of IgAN, with Jared Hassler, MD

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Jared Hassler, MD, shares his personal journey with IgAN and discusses IgAN's clinical features and diagnosis, emphasizing the importance of routine screenings for early detection.

Diagnosed with immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) at the age of 19, Jared Hassler, MD, a pathologist at the Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, began his journey with a routine physical examination that unexpectedly revealed blood and protein in his urine.

Like many patients, he had no prior symptoms that were indicative of kidney issues, highlighting the covert nature of this condition. This lack of awareness among patients emphasizes the importance of routine screenings, as early detection can significantly impact treatment outcomes and disease progression. For many, the journey towards diagnosis often starts with subtle signs like changes in the color of urine or a foamy appearance, prompting further investigation and diagnostic tests.

In an interview with HCPLive, Hassler discusses the clinical features and diagnosis of IgAN, which he presented in a session at the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) 2024 Spring Clinical Meeting.

In later stages of IgAN, patients commonly experience symptoms similar to those with other advanced kidney diseases nearing dialysis, such as fatigue and cognitive difficulties. Despite this similarity, the gold standard for confirming IgAN is a renal biopsy, which allows for precise diagnosis and treatment planning. According to Hassler, although genetic predispositions, particularly among certain populations like those of Southeast Asian descent, play a role in disease susceptibility, the interplay between genetics and environmental triggers means that anyone, regardless of ethnicity, can develop IgAN.

Despite ongoing advancements in non-invasive diagnostic techniques, such as genetic testing, biopsy remains indispensable for its accuracy in identifying IgAN. Hassler emphasized early detection, facilitated by organizations like the IgA Nephropathy Foundation, is essential for timely intervention and access to emerging treatment options. With the advent of novel drugs like budesonide (Tarpeyo) and sparsentan (Filspari), there is newfound hope for improved management of IgAN, offering patients and their families a sense of reassurance amidst the uncertainties of living with this chronic condition.

Disclosures: Hassler has consulted for Travere Therapeutics, Omeros, and Novartis.

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