It is estimated that some 12.5 million people worldwide have PKD. Multiple sac-like growths or cysyts develop within the kidneys, which may cause the kidneys to grow up to four times their normal size. Some people (although not all people) with PKD will experience kidney failure by the time that they are 60. There is also a 50% chance that someone with the condition will pass it on to their children.
Currently there is no cure for the disease, but in 2002 Japanese and American scientists announced that they had located the gene responsible for a rare form of the disease called autosomal recessive PKD which kills infants shortly after birth. It is hoped that locating this gene may expedite a cure being found.