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Recently Approved KP Research Bank Studies

Kaiser Permanente Research Bank

Do shingles vaccines help prevent dementia?

Scientists will examine whether getting a shingles vaccine lowers the risk of developing dementia. Scientific investigations in this area have shown that shingles vaccines might help prevent dementia, but those studies only used information from medical records. In this study, information from three different sources will be used: participants’ responses to the Kaiser Permanente (KP) Research Bank survey, genetic data from KP Research Bank participants’ blood samples, and information from participants’ KP electronic medical records. Using information from these three different sources will make the research findings more accurate. If the scientists find that the shingles vaccine may reduce peoples’ risk for dementia in the future, it may encourage more people to get the vaccine.

Possible new ways to prevent and treat preeclampsia

When pregnant, some women develop high blood pressure and a disease called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a major cause of poor fetal growth and preterm birth. It can be life-threatening to the mother and fetus, and treatment is typically early delivery. But even after delivery, the mother and child are at risk of future heart disease. In this study, scientists will use a new way to analyze mothers’ genetic data to identify gene mutations that may cause preeclampsia. These findings may create opportunities for developing a cure for preeclampsia. Ideally, the research will lead to genetic tests to use before or early in pregnancy, like standard blood tests and amniocentesis, that are regular parts of current prenatal care.

Using genetic information to help prevent end-stage kidney disease

In the United States, over 30 million individuals have chronic kidney disease (CKD). More than 800,000 of these people will develop end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) that requires dialysis. It is key to slow the change from CKD to ESKD, especially since there are currently few medications that can help stop the development of ESKD. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified over 200 genetic sites associated with eGFR, a reliable marker for CKD. But studies on the genetics related to the development of ESKD have not been successful so far. To address this problem, scientists will use information from the KP Research Bank to better understand the genetics of how CKD develops and progresses to ESKD. The results from this study will help lay the groundwork for developing ways to prevent people from developing ESKD.

Genetics, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes

Studies have shown that some people are at a higher risk for prediabetes, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and related complications because of their genes. The problem with these studies is that most of them are based on participants from primarily European backgrounds. Because there is very little racial diversity in these studies, the results don’t translate as well for people from non-European backgrounds, including people who descended from Africa, Asia, or Hispanic countries. Using data from the Kaiser Permanente Research Bank, which has a diverse group of participants, scientists will explore the genes that predict prediabetes and T2D. They’ll also study how these genes relate to disease complications and responses to treatment. The scientists’ long-term goal will be to better understand the genetics of prediabetes and T2D. With this information, doctors will be able to design better ways to accurately identify, prevent, and treat prediabetes and T2D in all people.

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