Canberra, Aug 23: A drug that successfully prevented kidney disease in diabetic mice is set to undergo its first human trial in Australia.
More than 140 Australians suffering from Type-1 or Type-2 diabetes will participate in the study to be run by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Xinhua news agency reported.
A drug developed by researchers at Monash University that blocks a pathway through which NOX enzymes cause damage to the kidneys will be tested in the trial, which will begin in September.
Blocking the pathway in mice had prevented kidney damage and the drug has shown promise in repairing eye and heart damage related to diabetes, said Mark Cooper from Monash University.
The rights to the drug are owned by Swiss pharmaceutical company Genkyotex.
"In the diabetic kidney, three things happen: it scars, it gets inflamed, and it leaks the protein albumin," Cooper was quoted as saying by the Australian media on Wednesday.
"We were able to show this drug stopped the protein leaking, stopped the inflammation, and stopped the scarring. It's the scarring, particularly, that causes kidney failure," Cooper said.
The 142 study participants will have their urine tested for albumin and then be administered the NOX-inhibitor or a placebo for 12 months.
Kidney disease is one of the most common causes of death associated with diabetes.
"If we can slow down kidney disease, and also reduce heart and eye disease in the diabetes population, it will dramatically improve lifespan and quality of life," Cooper said.
"These people (sufferers of both type 1 and 2 diabetes) can avoid dialysis, have fewer heart attacks, and suffer less blindness," he added.