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Investigating Metformin A Clinical Trial for Polycystic Kidney Disease

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Patient Recruitment for a UQ-Led Clinical Trial

The University of Queensland is leading a groundbreaking clinical trial aimed at assessing the effectiveness of a diabetes drug in slowing down the progression of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Professor Andrew Mallett, heading the study at UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience in collaboration with the Australasian Kidney Trials Network (AKTN), is determined to discover a new treatment for this life-limiting genetic disease.

Metformin: A Promising Candidate

The focus of this clinical trial is the diabetes drug metformin. Metformin has already amassed a wealth of data regarding its mechanisms of action, and it stands out as a relatively inexpensive treatment option. Check out our Top CGMs Furthermore, its safety profile is well-established. Now, the research team aims to explore its potential in mitigating the rate of kidney decline in PKD patients.

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Professor Andrew Mallett explains, “PKD is the most common life-limiting genetic disease, but there’s a real lack of targeted therapies.” This trial aims to change that by investigating metformin as a potential game-changer.

The Prevalence of Polycystic Kidney Disease

Approximately 1.8 million Australians currently grapple with kidney disease, and a staggering one in three Australians is at risk of future diagnosis. What makes kidney disease particularly challenging is that it is often asymptomatic. Patients can lose up to 90 percent of kidney function without experiencing noticeable symptoms, which can have devastating consequences for both patients and their families.

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The Hope of Home-Based Treatment

The primary objective of this trial is to use metformin as a treatment to decelerate the progression of PKD. Ideally, this would enable patients to either delay or entirely avoid the need for dialysis or transplantation. To make life easier for patients, the trial has been designed with their comfort in mind. Many patients have expressed a preference for home-based treatment, allowing them to maintain a semblance of normalcy in their lives.

Professor Mallett elaborates, “Because metformin is safe, they can take the drug at home, and we can monitor them virtually, which makes the experience more comfortable and convenient for patients.”

Recruiting Participants for the Clinical Trial

To bring this ambitious trial to fruition, the team is actively recruiting 250 individuals aged between 18 and 70, all of whom have Autosomal Dominant PKD. The trial will be conducted across 12 sites throughout Australia.

Professor David Johnson, Deputy Chair of the AKTN from UQ’s Faculty of Medicine, emphasizes the importance of this trial, stating, “Previous international studies showed metformin was effective in decreasing cyst formation and growth in models of ADPKD. This clinical trial is the next stage in the process of converting those results into a viable medication that might lengthen patients’ lives.

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Raising Awareness

For those affected by polycystic kidney disease, as well as their families and caregivers, the PKD Australia website provides valuable information about the illness. Additionally, mark your calendars for International PKD Awareness Day on September 4th, a day dedicated to raising awareness about this critical health issue.