Texas Kidney Foundation, located in north San Antonio, is marking National Kidney Month and World Kidney Day on March 10 by expressing appreciation for its 10-year collaboration with Nova Biomedical, a Massachusetts-based company renowned for its manufacture of point-of-care testing devices for kidney function assessment.

According to a news release, TKF helps to stop the progression of kidney diseases using the StatSensor and StatSensor Xpress Creatinine and eGFR Meters created by Nova Biomedical.

The device uses a small, painless capillary blood sample to measure creatinine and calculate eGFR, or glomerular filtration rate, two important indicators of kidney function, in 30 seconds, the release said.

TKF officials said they are proud to have held a long relationship with Nova Biomedical, which even despite a pandemic is addressing public health challenges in Black communities.

Specifically, Nova Biomedical is supporting TKF’s mission to improve early identification of post-COVID-19 effects on kidneys, fight the epidemic of kidney diseases and battle systemic injustice of eGFR race correction for assessing kidney function, the release said.

TKF officials said that for years foundation President and CEO Tiffany Jones-Smith, with support from her board of directors, has sought to remove the decadeslong practice of race correction from tests used to check kidney function.

“Kidney function is a key component in staging kidney diseases. The American Society of Nephrology has recently stated that race correction should be discontinued,” the release said.

“Nationally used tests single out African Americans for race correction. African Americans are the only ethnic group to whom this adjustment is applied. By singling out African Americans and adjusting their results, the long-term outcomes may mean treatment is delayed or people are not placed on a kidney transplant waitlist due to skewed eGFR test results, which appear to make participants appear healthier than they are,” the release also said.

Jones-Smith said she has directly contacted device manufacturers, hospital systems and medical schools among other entities to have the bias removed.

“Nova Biomedical was the first to answer the call. They removed the race question and the algorithm that supports the unjust biases that singles out African Americans. As an African American woman, I am overjoyed by their decision,” Jones-Smith said.

“The 10 years of support and supplies provided by Nova Biomedical have allowed us to be able to conduct thousands of screenings in underserved communities throughout Texas, which is why we are highlighting our work and theirs on World Kidney Day,” Jones-Smith added.

According to TKF, one in three are at risk for kidney disease and nine of 10 people with kidney disease are not aware they have it until it is in advanced stages because there are no symptoms.

TKF said it seeks to identify new and better methods for prevention, detection and treatment of kidney diseases affecting Texans.

“I was impressed with the extensive work and resourcefulness of Tiffany Jones-Smith and her board of directors,” Dr. Bogdan Milojkovic, Nova Biomedical’s global medical and scientific affairs director, said.

“When the issue of the eGFR was raised, we saw the risk and removed the eGFR equation, so it does not incorporate a patient’s race and treatment or lack thereof.”

Jones-Smith said a proactive response to chronic kidney disease is vital, and removing race correction is an accomplishment for the foundation’s kidney patients.

“I have lost 12 family members to kidney disease, which may have been prevented had this equation not existed. Once I discovered the unacceptable practice, I was determined to challenge race correction so that what happened to my family would not happen to other families,” Jones-Smith said.

“Nova Biomedical removed the use of race from their eGFR equations in all devices going forward, and that is a significant change for our community. As we commemorate World Kidney Day, we laud those who are working to eradicate systemic injustice in kidney care, so we have equitable kidney health for all.

Additionally, March 9 marked the one-month anniversary of TKF launching its Silent But Deadly campaign, an effort to increase kidney health screenings across Bexar County. Foundation officials said they have provided more than 760 kidney screenings to date.