Compound Developed to Battle Kidney Disease in Diabetic Patients

Compound Developed to Battle Kidney Disease in Diabetic Patients

Diabetes is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and eventual kidney failure. A collaborative new study between several Spanish institutions proposes a new approach to slow the progression of kidney disease in diabetic patients.

The study, “Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling-1 Peptidomimetic Limits Progression of Diabetic Nephropathy,” was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 422 million people in 2016 suffer from diabetes worldwide. Chronic kidney disease and kidney failure are among the most serious long-term complications of diabetes, affecting about one-third of diabetic patients. In diabetic nephropathy, filters of the kidneys are damaged, which leads to significant loss of protein from the blood into the urine.

There are limited therapeutic options for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy, and most of them are designed to slow the progression of kidney damage to control related complications.

In this study, researchers developed a novel method that targets a cellular pathway called JAK/STAT, involved in transmitting information from extracellular chemical signals to the nucleus where genes are expressed. In diabetic patients, JAK/STAT is chronically activated and mediates the resulting damage induced by elevated blood sugar on kidney cells.

To overcome the problem, researchers found a new way to control JAK/STAT by synthesizing a molecule that mimics the SOCS1 protein, which reduces the effect of cytokine signaling. This process helps to regulate JAK/STAT levels.

In a mouse model, the results showed that this novel synthetic compound can penetrate the cells and stop the damaging effects of diabetes on kidney cells, slowing the progression of kidney disease.

Other results suggest the compound could help improve the kidney function, reduce kidney inflammation and scarring, and protect the kidneys of diabetic patients at early or advanced stages of diabetes.

“Our goal is to develop the compound as a novel approach to combat chronic complications of diabetes,” said Carmen Gomez-Guerrero, PhD, principal investigator at Madrid’s Fundacion Jimenez Diaz University Hospital-Health Research Institute at the Autonomous University, in a press release.

She said the team plans to begin preclinical development to support early-phase clinical trials.

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Malika Ammam received her MS degree from the University of Pierre et Marie CURIE in July 2002 and her PhD from the University of Paris Sud XI, France in September 2005. From 2006 to 2007, she worked as a research fellow at the University of Kansas in collaboration with Pinnacle Technology Inc. (USA). From 2007 to 2010, she was a research associate at KU Leuven, Belgium. From 2010 to 2012, she worked at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in collaboration with Alcohol Countermeasure Systems Corporation, Canada. She has also held the prestigious Rosalind Franklin fellowship.

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