No therapies have been shown to improve outcomes in patients with acute kidney injury (AKI). Given the high morbidity and mortality associated with AKI this represents an important unmet medical need. A common feature of all of the therapeutic development efforts for AKI is that none were driven by target selection or preclinical modeling that was based primarily on human data. This is important when considering a heterogeneous and dynamic condition such as AKI, in which in the absence of more accurate molecular classifications, clinical cohorts are likely to include patients with different types of injury at different stages in the injury and repair continuum. The National Institutes of Health precision medicine initiative offers an opportunity to address this. By creating a molecular tissue atlas of AKI, defining patient subgroups, and identifying critical cells and pathways involved in human AKI, this initiative has the potential to transform our current approach to therapeutic discovery. In this review, we discuss the opportunities and challenges that this initiative presents, with a specific focus on AKI, what additional efforts will be needed to apply these discoveries to therapeutic development, and how we believe this effort might lead to the development of new therapeutics for subsets of patients with AKI.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc.