Patients with an inherited kidney disease may be helped by a drug that is currently available for other uses, scientists at UC Santa Barbara have discovered. The findings are published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Over 600,000 people in the U.S., and 12 million worldwide, are affected by the inherited kidney disease known as autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). The disease is characterized by the proliferation of thousands of cysts that eventually debilitate the kidneys, causing kidney failure in half of all patients by the time they reach age 50. ADPKD is one of the leading causes of renal failure in the U.S.
"Currently, no treatment exists to prevent or slow cyst formation, and most ADPKD patients require kidney transplants or lifelong dialysis for survival," said Thomas Weimbs, director of the laboratory at UCSB where the discovery was made. Weimbs is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and in the Neuroscience Research Institute at UCSB.