A new anti-inflammatory drug used by patients with type 2 diabetes improved their kidney function, scientists have revealed.
The year-long study involving researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center, marks the first time a drug therapy has led to improved kidney function for patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
"In diabetes, kidney function tends to deteriorate over time," Dr. Robert Toto, director of the Houston J. and Florence A. Doswell Center for the Development of New Approaches for the Treatment of Hypertension at UT Southwestern, said.
"No prior studies of this duration have shown what appears to be an increase in kidney function by any therapy, which makes this a very exciting development," he explained.
The study involved 227 adult patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. They were divided into four groups - three receiving different dosages of bardoxolone methyl, an anti-inflammatory drug, and the fourth group receiving a placebo and acting as a control.
The patients were tracked for 56 weeks, with measurements of their kidney function taken every four weeks.
At study-highlighted weeks 24 and 52, researchers saw an overall significant increase in the estimated glomerular filtration rates, which are measurements of how well the kidneys are functioning, for the patients receiving the drug.
At 56 weeks, four weeks after researchers stopped administering the drug, a third measurement showed that patients continued to maintain a slightly higher level of kidney function compared to baseline measurements taken at the study's start.
"The results of this study show promise for bardoxolone methyl in the treatment of kidney disease in those with type 2 diabetes," Toto said.
The study has been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.