Researchers from UC San Diego, the National Institutes of Health, and the Mayo Clinic have shown that an experimental drug called pirfenidone can stop damage and improve kidney function in diabetic patients. Study participants treated with a small amount of the drug for one year showed improved glomerular filtration rates.
Pirfenidone, an anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic or anti-scarring drug, targets transforming growth factor beta (TGF-ß), a protein that contributes to kidney scarring. Prolonged, elevated blood sugar levels lead to over-expression of TGF-ß, but pirfenidone appears to block the protein. The drug has already been used to slow the progression of FSGS and may be an option for treating other fibrotic conditions, such as pulmonary fibrosis.
Drug Effective in Treating Kidney Disease in Diabetic Patients, By Debra Kain, UC San Diego, April 21, 2011