Mumbai-based nephrologist Bhupendra Vithaldas Gandhi was on Sunday presented the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Annual Day celebrations of the Trust Hospital, a unit of the Madras Kidney Trust and Hypertension Research Foundation.

Presenting the award, Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting S. Jagathrakshagan urged doctors to strive towards reaching healthcare to the underprivileged.

The Minister suggested that doctors pursuing careers in cities should devote a portion of their time to render service in the rural areas.

Addressing a scientific session at the continuing medical education programme “Nephrofeast 2010”, Dr. Gandhi, who is senior consultant nephrologist at Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai, said immunologists were working with better induction (monoclonal or polyclonal antibody) in transplant patients so that patients did not require lifelong immunosuppressants, which had attendant side-effects.

Dr. Gandhi pointed out that early experiences in renal transplantation had been marked by high rates of acute rejection and complications related to the spinoffs of drugs such as high dose steroid and azathioprine.

These days, induction agents were the cornerstone of immunosuppressive therapy that was followed by maintenance therapy with anti-proliferative agents, he said.

While several immune drugs were being evaluated for better integrated grafts, lesser side-effects and longer patient survival, the ultimate aim was to migrate to xenotransplants involving the use of genetically modified animal kidneys for humans to resolve the shortage of organ availability, Dr. Gandhi said.

M. S. Amaresan, Medical Director, Trust Hospital, said the Trust would shortly open a peripheral medical centre in Thirukazhukundram.

Diabetes was the trigger for 60 per cent of end-stage renal patients while hypertension accounted for about 30 per cent of patients with kidney disease, he said.

V. Selvaraj, trustee, called for expanding facilities at the Trust Hospital to provide specialised healthcare for more patients.

V. Tamilarasi, nephrology head, Christian Medical College, Vellore, M. A. Kanyakumari, managing trustee of the hospital and R. Geetha, secretary, also participated.