UNC Kidney Center Researcher Wins TraCS Award to Study Effectiveness of Ultrasound Technique on Kidney Patients

Emily Chang, MD
Emily Chang, MD

UNC Kidney Center’s Dr. Emily Chang leads a team of four UNC School of Medicine researchers who have recently been awarded an NC TraCS “Improving Human Health” grant.

The grant will fund a study that will evaluate the effectiveness of using contrast-enhanced ultrasound to identify malignancy of indeterminate kidney lesions in patients with chronic kidney disease. This technique could prove to be more accurate than the current standard of care yearly follow-up non-contrasted ultrasound images as well as a safer alternative than contrast-enhanced CT scans or MRI.

“The contrast used in CTs and MRIs are often not safe for our patients, so we are in need of a better imaging test that doesn’t require years of follow-up, which can lead to patient anxiety,” said Dr. Chang.

The team of Principal Investigators includes Emily Chang, MD, Wui Chong, MD, Paul Dayton, MD, and W. Kimryn Rathmell, MD. Additionally, support from her mentor, UNC Kidney Center’s Dr. Jenny Flythe, was a tremendous help in winning the award.

This project will build on a previous study funded by the Lineberger Cancer Center which looked at this ultrasound technique in patients with kidney cancer.

Dr. Chang said that it became clear from completing the initial study that the technique would provide the most benefit to patients with chronic kidney disease.

This study will recruit and image patients for 6 months with a follow-up routine non-contrasted ultrasound to be obtained at one year of follow-up.

Researchers hope to begin recruitment in September of this year.

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