The kidney damage caused by type 2 diabetes has been slowed in promising studies of cell therapy in Galway, Belfast and the UK.
The results came from promising clinical trials in people with diabetes and advanced kidney disease receiving ORBCEL-M cell therapy, as reported this month at the American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week.
“We have focused on this group of people with type 2 diabetes who are known to have diabetic kidney disease and we have evidence from their clinical record that it is getting worse despite the best current therapy,” he said Professor Matt Griffin from the Regenerative Medicine Institute at the University of Galway and one of the study’s lead researchers.
“Our current best practice can certainly slow down the progression of kidney disease in most treated people, but will not stop it completely,” explained Prof. Griffin, explaining the reasons for the studies.
There are an estimated 450 million people with diabetes worldwide, of whom 30 to 40 percent have chronic kidney disease, Prof. Griffin said.
The mortality rate for people with diabetes who need kidney dialysis is about 40 percent within two years, he said, and while a kidney transplant offers a better life expectancy for people with end-stage kidney disease, the supply of donor kidneys falls far short of demand.
Diabetic kidney disease not only damages the kidney, but also increases the risk of heart disease and blood vessel disease.
The study, designed at Galway University and coordinated by the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, took a group of patients receiving the cell therapy and compared them to a group receiving a placebo. A placebo is a treatment that appears real but has no therapeutic effect.
The blood of both groups was monitored for 18 months.
During this time, the decline in kidney function was less severe in those receiving the therapy.
Kidney function in patients receiving cell therapy and the placebo was measured by examining levels of creatinine, a waste product.
The healthier the kidney is, the better it can filter creatinine from the body as waste.
“The observation that we reported and are cautiously excited about is that when we divided them into the placebo group and the cell-receiving patients, the placebo-receiving patients had more rapid kidney deterioration during the follow-up period than cell-treated patients,” said Prof. Griffin.
The scientists are planning another experiment.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/university-of-galway-trial-finds-cell-therapy-slows-kidney-damage-in-people-with-type-2-diabetes-42180628.html University of Galway study shows cell therapy slows kidney damage in people with type 2 diabetes