A team of researchers led by Paolo Fiorina, M.D., Ph.D. of Boston Children’s Hospital – Harvard Medical School has found that abatacept may help prevent kidney disease caused by diabetes. The autoimmune drug, which works by targeting a receptor called B7-1, is prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis and is also being used in clinical trials for the treatment of FSGS. (See our post on abatacept and FSGS.) The investigators discovered that high blood glucose levels cause expression of B7-1 in kidney podocyte cells in patients with Type 2 diabetes and diabetic nephropathy. When they tested abatecept with a mouse model of diabetic nephropathy, they found improvements in proteinuria and disease progression. Testing on humans could begin fairly soon since abatacept is already approved by the FDA. The scientists are hopeful that this therapy could become the first successful treatment for proteinuria in diabetic patients.
Autoimmune Drug May Help Prevent Kidney Disease Caused by Diabetes, EurekAlert, American Society of Nephrology, March 27, 2014
Role of Podocyte B7-1 in Diabetic Nephropathy, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, March 27, 2014
Diabetic Kidney Disease: Potential New Therapeutic Target Discovered, MedicalResearch.com interview with Dr. Paolo Fiorina and Dr. Roberto Bassi, by Dr. Maria Benz