Peter Fiduccia
Peter Fiduccia
Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation (Photo Provided)

Although chronic kidney disease affects nearly 14% of adults in the United States, most people are not aware of the disease.1 Leading a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent CKD. But, unlike CKD, polycystic kidney disease cannot be prevented. PKD is a result of a genetic disorder, which causes the growth of cysts in the kidney. These cysts can enlarge the kidneys, leading to reduced kidney function and failure. PKD affects around 500,000 people in the U.S. as one of the most common genetic disorders and can lead to other serious complications, such as cysts in the liver and high blood pressure.2

Peter Fiduccia said he wants to increase awareness of PKD and the distinction between CKD and PKD. Fiduccia said sharing information about PKD can make an impact for people who may have recently been diagnosed or are already involved with the PKD community as someone affected by the disease in any way.

Fiduccia said he received his diagnosis in adolescence. During his undergraduate years, he said that he participated in the first interventional trial in PKD, called HALT PKD. During this 4-year period, Fiduccia learned about his disease and what steps could be taken to slow its progression. Fiduccia spent years managing his blood pressure, maintaining a low-salt diet, and drinking plenty of water. He said doctors informed him that his disease still advanced. As a result, Fiduccia said he takes the medication, tolvaptan, to help to slow the rate of kidney function decline.

The Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program aims to support research that could lead to treatments, such as tolvaptan, that have the potential to improve the health and well-being of those impacted by PKD. Notably, Congress included PKD as a PRMRP Topic Area in FY06, FY08-FY17, and FY19-23.

In FY21 and FY22, the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation nominated Fiduccia to participate in the PRMRP as a consumer peer reviewer of scientific applications to the program.

“It is not only enlightening, but inspiring to have an opportunity to learn of the many ways teams across areas of research are devoting time and energy to the disease,” Fiduccia said.

He said being a consumer peer reviewer provides an exciting opportunity to review breakthrough research applications and represent the PKD community in discussions with researchers studying diseases, like PKD, and working on a cure.

In addition to representing the PKD community while reviewing applications for the PRMRP, Fiduccia said he works in the research division at a pharmaceutical company in Boston, Massachusetts. Outside of his daily responsibilities, he enjoys a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, sailing, photography, and exploring, as well as indoor activities, like playing the piano and staying connected with friends over video games.

Fiduccia said he recognizes the mental toll of his PDK diagnosis on himself, his family, and friends. He appreciates the work being done by PRMRP-funded researchers, hoping that someday they will find a cure for this devastating disease.

The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this paper are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of Defense position, policy, or decision.


1Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States, 2023. 2023. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chronic Kidney Disease Initiative.

2What Is Polycystic Kidney Disease? 2017. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Last updated Tuesday, January 23, 2024