Study will test new treatments for life-threatening kidney condition IgA nephropathy

June 28, 2018, University of Leicester

A patient from Birmingham is the first person to be recruited into a new worldwide study to test new treatments for a potentially life-threatening kidney condition called IgA nephropathy. The research team responsible for this fantastic achievement is based in the John Walls Renal Unit at Leicester General Hospital.

IgA nephropathy is an autoimmune disease that affects the fine filters of the kidneys. In healthy kidneys, these filters act like a sieve to clean the blood and enable the body to expel waste products it doesn't need in the urine. However, in people with IgA nephropathy, a common antibody in the blood called IgA that helps us fight infection is for some reason deposited in the kidneys. This produces inflammation and scarring in the filters, which means they do not function at the same levels as would be expected in a healthy person.

The new study is looking at the effectiveness and safety of a drug called LNP023, which blocks a process in the body that is known to cause inflammation and organ damage in people with autoimmune diseases such as IgA nephropathy.

The first worldwide participant is John Watts (55) from Knowle, near Solihull in Birmingham. He was recruited on 6 February 2018.

John said: "I was ill in 2012 with trouble, which involved a number of tests and from these a diagnosis of IgA nephropathy was made. I thought I should read up on this illness and understand it. I was just doing as people do and went onto Google. I happened to find some notes put on by Professor Barratt saying we are looking for people to take part in trials. That was in 2013. We've been going steady ever since!"

Professor Jonathan Barratt, honorary nephrology consultant at Leicester's Hospitals and Mayer Professor of Renal Medicine at the University of Leicester, is leading the study. He said: "We are delighted to have recruited the first patient into this important global study in Leicester. John is very knowledgeable about his condition and this is his third clinical trial with us. He's like part of the team.

"By leading this study we hope to establish whether the new drug reduces kidney inflammation and improves kidney function in patients with IgA nephropathy. We should also gain insights into what the correct dosage of the drug should be, how safe it is and how well patients tolerate it because we are trialling the drug at different doses, and indeed by using a placebo which contains none of the drug as a comparison."

Professor Jonathan Barratt leads the Mayer IgA Nephropathy Laboratories at the University of Leicester. In 2017, the University of Leicester received a gift of £2.7 million from philanthropist Jimmy Mayer to support his research group in further understanding the mechanisms that lead to the development and progression of IgA Nephropathy and to establish the world's first international registry of IgA Nephropathy patients.

Although not well known, IgA is the most common form of fine filter kidney inflammation in the UK. It can affect anyone, although most diagnoses are in men during their teens and twenties, often following a bout of illness such as a chest infection. Many people affected by the condition first find out about it because they have passed blood in their urine and have made contact with a healthcare professional to investigate the matter. Sadly there is currently no cure, so treatment focuses on reducing blood pressure and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to limit kidney damage as much as possible. A significant number of affected people with the condition will end up on dialysis or need a kidney transplant.

On being part of the clinical trial, John said: "I agreed to take part because they asked me, said I was suitable, said it was a new drug and they thought I'd be ideal to go on it if I wanted to. For me it's a big privilege being involved in this. It's for my benefit—our benefit—and for those who suffer from this disease. Why wouldn't you be a part of it when it's worth it?"

At the present time John, who is an independent financial consultant, says he feels well and enjoys playing tennis, getting out in the garden and spending time with his family.

For more information about the study, which is sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Novartis, visit: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03373461.

Explore further: Autoimmune drug may help prevent kidney disease caused by diabetes

Related Stories

Autoimmune drug may help prevent kidney disease caused by diabetes

March 27, 2014
A drug currently used to treat autoimmune disease may also help prevent the kidney-damaging effects of diabetes, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). ...

Immune system link to kidney disease risk, research finds

June 29, 2016
A gene which forms part of our body's first line of defence against infection may be associated with an increased risk with a type of kidney disease, research involving academics at The University of Nottingham has discovered.

Steroid treatment for type of kidney disease associated with increased risk for serious infections

August 1, 2017
Among patients with IgA nephropathy and excess protein in their urine, treatment with pills of the steroid methylprednisolone was associated with an unexpectedly large increase in the risk of serious adverse events, primarily ...

New target for treating diabetic kidney disease, the leading cause of kidney failure

October 18, 2012
Researchers have discovered a new therapeutic target for diabetic nephropathy, the leading cause of kidney failure. The findings, appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), ...

Air pollution linked to increased rates of kidney disease

June 30, 2016
While air pollution is known to cause respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, a new study indicates that it also likely causes damage to the kidneys. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the ...

Recommended for you

Researchers a step closer to understanding how deadly bird flu virus takes hold in humans

November 19, 2018
New research has taken a step towards understanding how highly pathogenic influenza viruses such as deadly bird flu infect humans.

Infants born to obese mothers risk developing liver disease, obesity

November 16, 2018
Infant gut microbes altered by their mother's obesity can cause inflammation and other major changes within the baby, increasing the risk of obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease later in life, according to researchers ...

New study shows NKT cell subsets play a large role in the advancement of NAFLD

November 16, 2018
Since 2015 it has been known that the gut microbiota could have a direct impact on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects up to 12% of adults and is a leading cause of chronic liver disease. In the November ...

Antibiotic prescribing influenced by team dynamics within hospitals

November 15, 2018
Antibiotic prescribing by doctors is influenced by team dynamics and cultures within hospitals.

Discovery suggests new route to fight infection, disease

November 14, 2018
New research reveals how a single protein interferes with the immune system when exposed to the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease, findings that could have broad implications for development of medicines to fight ...

New research aims to help improve uptake of hepatitis C testing

November 14, 2018
New research published in Scientific Reports shows persisting fears about HIV infection may impact testing uptake for the hepatitis C Virus (HCV).

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.