In his opening talk at the American Society of Nephrology's 2012 Kidney Week, ASN president Ronald J Falk, MD, FASN urged nephrologists to consider the treatment possibilities of the future.
"We nephrologists hardly ever use the word cure. When was the last time you even let the concept permeate your consciousness?"
Falk encouraged nephrologists to consider practicing nephrology in the future with a platform better than dialysis. He said: "Why can't we restore health? With all the nanoscience and biotechnology, why can't we build a better platform?" He thinks we can, at least eventually. "We must think that we can cure kidney disease, even if we don't know how to do it today."
How will nephrology push into the realm of better restoring patient health? According to Falk, through collaboration and research. That is the point of the American Society of Nephrology's new Kidney Health Initiative. Nephrologists must work with industry innovators to promote scietific discoveries.
Nephrologists must work with pharmacists, social workers, nurses, and researchers to restore the health of their patients. And, according to Falk, "the only definition of restoration of health that really counts is that annunciated by the patient." Patients must be happy and able to interact with their family and the outside world. Perhaps patients should not feel chronically held down by treatment, but empowered by it.