Advanced Kidney Research Team

Internationally recognized investigative team often first in class in testing therapeutics for rare kidney diseases in children.


The investigative team at Hackensack Meridian Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital is very active in clinical trials of novel, often first in class, therapeutics for rare kidney diseases in children, which allows patients to receive cutting-edge treatment. Achievements include:

  • Kenneth V. Lieberman, M.D., Division Chief of Pediatric Nephrology, has continued his international leadership position in novel therapeutics for complement mediated kidney disease with the completion of the trial and FDA approval for Ravulizumab® (Alexion Pharmaceuticals). This long-acting complement blockingagent increases the drug administration interval from 2 weeks to 2 months, resulting in marked improvement in patient quality of life.
  • Dr. Lieberman presented on the pediatric results from the DUET study (which evaluated the efficacy and safety of a novel agent for the treatment of nephrotic syndrome), of which he was a principal investigator, at the International Pediatric Nephrology Association’s annual meeting. A manuscript detailing the full study has been published. Dr. Lieberman also was the seminar leader and keynote speaker for a virtual state-of-the-art program on the treatment of Complement Mediated Kidney Disease for MENA (Middle East/North African) nephrologists.
  • Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital is a major pediatric participant in therapeutic interventions for diagnoses with historically limited treatments, including:

➢The Cardinal study, trialing Bardoxolone (an antioxidant agent) for the treatment of Alport Syndrome. Preliminary results have been made public and have demonstrated a beneficial effect for patients with Alport syndrome.

➢Initiating enrollment in the Lokelma study in the pediatric population, to evaluate a medication that has already shown improved patient tolerance, as well as improved efficacy and safety, in the treatment of hyperkalemia in adults versus the current standard of care.

  • Guillermo Hidalgo, M.D., pediatric nephrologist, was awarded a travel fellowship to participate in the International Society of Nephrology’s Saving Young Lives program in South Africa and Ecuador. He also provided Pediatric Nephrology Pearls to Advanced Nurse Practitioners at the annual New Jersey American Academy of Pediatrics course in 2020.
  • Leigh Ettinger, M.D., pediatric nephrologist, has delivered multiple presentations on the utility of plant-based diets for the treatment of obesity and hypertension, an area in which he is a pediatric leader.
  • The entire pediatric nephrology division has proudly contributed to the design and execution of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine’s kidney course, of which Dr. Lieberman is course director.
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