Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have identified abatacept (also known as Orencia), a drug for rheumatoid arthritis, as a potential treatment for FSGS. All five patients in the study showed signs of improvement after taking the drug. Four of the patients in danger of losing their transplanted kidneys were treated successfully and a fifth patient went into remission. The scientists discovered that abatacept works by inhibiting an immune molecule called B7-1, whose expression in unhealthy kidney podocyte cells leads to breakdown of the kidney filter barrier.
This is an exciting breakthrough for a kidney disease which often occurs for no known reason and is untreatable in some patients, recurring even after kidney transplant. The scientists believe that the biomarker B7-1 will help them determine which patients will benefit from taking abatacept and they are hopeful that the drug could help patients with diabetic kidney disease as well.
Repurposed Drug May Be First Targeted Treatment for Serious Kidney Disease, ScienceDaily, November 8, 2013