CANBERRA – A drug that successfully prevented kidney disease in diabetic mice will undergo world-first human trials in Australia, it was announced Wednesday, China\’s Xinhua news agency reported.
More than 140 Australians suffering from type 1 or 2 diabetes will participate in the study, run by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, which will begin in September.
A drug developed by researchers at Monash University that blocks a pathway through which NOX enzymes cause damage to the kidneys will be tested in the trial.
Monash’s Mark Cooper said that blocking the pathway in mice had prevented kidney damage and the drug, the rights to which are owned by Swiss pharmaceutical company Genkyotex, has shown promise in repairing eye and heart damage related to diabetes.
“In the diabetic kidney three things happen: it scars, it gets inflamed, and it leaks the protein albumin,” Cooper told Australian media on Wednesday.
“We were able to show this drug stopped the protein leaking, stopped the inflammation, and stopped the scarring. It’s the scarring, particularly, that causes kidney failure.”
The 142 study participants will have their urine tested for albumin and then be administered the NOX-inhibitor or a placebo for 12 months.
Diabetes affects 250,000 Australians and Cooper said kidney disease is one of the most common causes of death associated with the disease.
“If we can slow down kidney disease, and also reduce heart and eye disease in the diabetes population, it will dramatically improve lifespan and quality of life,” he said.
“These people (sufferers of both type 1 and 2 diabetes) can avoid dialysis, have fewer heart attacks, and suffer less blindness.”