University of Manchester researchers have made a major breakthrough that could lead to two new treatments for membranous nephropathy or MN, a rare kidney disease in which the immune system attacks a protein found in the kidneys, causing thickening of the small blood vessels in the kidney, proteinuria, and sometimes kidney failure. The scientists discovered the site where antibodies bind to this protein, known as PLA2R, as well as the peptides, or small molecules, that could prevent binding. They believe the peptides could also be used to remove antibodies from patients.
The team found another potential treatment using a 3-D model of PLA2R. By replicating the binding site, they were able to trick the antibodies into binding harmlessly to the decoy protein.
Source: Scientists Announce Major Breakthrough Against Rare Kidney Disease, Medical Xpress, May 19, 2015