An Australian pharmaceutical company has successfully prevented the progression of Diabetic Kidney Disease (DKD) for the first time.
DKD is an often fatal long-term complication of type 2 diabetes which is the most common cause of severe renal disease. It affects one third of people with type 2 diabetes and has no viable treatment until now, Xinhua news agency reported.
An international team of scientists in collaboration with Melbourne-based global biotechnology leader CSL Limited investigated a therapeutic approach that targets the transport of fatty acids, or lipids, from the blood into tissues to treat DKD.
Using 2H10, an antibody developed by CSL, the researchers were able to block Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor B (VEGF-B), a protein that affects the transport of lipids into body tissue. Elevated levels of VEGF-B are a common symptom among patients with DKD.
By inhibiting VEGF-B signalling the researchers were able to reduce the accumulation of lipid deposits within the kidney and moderate the progression of kidney disease in a number of models of type 1 and 2 diabetes.
"This research addresses an important area of unmet medical need and could lead to an entirely new approach to the treatment of type 2 diabetes," Andrew Nash, Senior Vice President of Research at CSL, said in a statement on Friday.
Professor Ulf Eriksson, the lead researcher on the study, said that "the study reveals some mechanistic understanding of the disease progression and challenges the hypothesis that diabetic kidney disease is simply the result of chronic elevated blood glucose."
The study, which was published in respected journal Cell Metabolism on Friday, was carried out on mice but a human trial of the protein in humans with DKD has been flagged for the near future.