UKRO is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit charity founded in 2002 by entertainment lawyer Kenneth Kleinberg with the help of Dr. Vito M. Campese, Professor and Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Our mission is fundraising to support medical research and education related to the causes, treatment, and eradication of all forms of kidney disease.
Since 2002, UKRO has raised significant dollars to fund educational symposia, fellowships, and cutting-edge research at the earliest stage of development. Our special project grants have been awarded to nationally recognized experts from interdisciplinary labs at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, City of Hope, and UCLA.
We believe that collaboration among scientists working in a variety of fields is the key to understanding chronic kidney disease, discovering improved therapies, and finding a much-needed cure. To that end, in September 2012, UKRO entered into an agreement with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California to establish what we envision as a a premier center nationally for kidney research—the USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center (KRC).
We have made an initial $3.5 million pledge to support the establishment of the KRC, which will conduct both basic and applied research programs at USC. UKRO’s gift will be matched by equivalent contributions from the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Research at the KRC will be the primary beneficiary of UKRO’s fundraising for the foreseeable future.
Chronic kidney disease (also known as CKD) is a growing epidemic here in the United States and worldwide, affecting nearly 25 million Americans, many of whom are unaware they have it. CKD is a progressive loss of kidney function, occurring over a period of months or years. In the early stages, there may be few signs that anything is wrong. By the time symptoms of kidney disease appear – exhaustion; swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, or face; back pain; unexplained high blood pressure; changes in urination frequency and color – the kidneys may be seriously impaired.
Chronic kidney disease affects the general population, but is particularly prevalent among African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans. Diabetes and hypertension are the leading causes of kidney disease. Left untreated, kidney disease can lead to permanent damage and kidney failure. It is imperative that we protect our kidney health and know the facts about kidney disease.