Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a new treatment that could help protect patients with type 2 diabetes from kidney damage . It was found that the medication could also improve kidney function in people with both type 2 diabetes and kidney disease, as well as helping them avoid end-stage renal disease .
The medication, called pirfenidone, blocks a protein called transforming growth factor beta (TGF-â), which is stimulated in the kidneys of diabetics with high blood sugar levels, otherwise the protein causes scarring, and impairs kidney function.
The research into 77 patients with diabetic nephropathy, a major cause of end-stage renal disease, as well as being a common complication of diabetes, found that pirfenidone significantly slowed down the progression of kidney damage and helped stop many patients from progressing to end-stage renal disease.
People with diabetic nephropathy have damaged kidneys that cannot remove waste from the bloodstream, making them dependent on dialysis for the rest of their lives unless a transplant can be carried out.
Team leader, Kumar Sharma, commented “To date, therapies for diabetic nephropathy have been limited to drugs that improve blood pressure or control blood sugar levels.” However, by blocking TGF-â, pirfenidone can effectively disrupt the process that causes damage to the kidneys and leads to nephropathy.

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