A new class of drugs has been found to reduce kidney impairment in patients with Type 2 diabetes with experts believing there could be as much as a 30 per cent reduction.
When world-renowned kidney specialist Prof Carol Pollock (pictured) undertook her PhD 30 years ago looking into why people with diabetes developed kidney failure, she had no idea her work would be so instrumental and life-saving today.
Using a plant-based compound – not used before in this type of research - to inhibit salt and glucose reabsorption in the kidney, she demonstrated that in doing so, abnormal kidney function due to diabetes could be normalised.
Thirty years on and Prof Pollock, of the Kolling Institute of Medical Research and University of Sydney, along with world leaders have just overseen a world trial of a drug developed from the plant-based compound she used in the 1980s to reduce the risk of kidney failure in patients with Type 2 diabetes and existing kidney damage.
The results have been overwhelming with the drug, Camagliflozin, reducing the need for dialysis or a transplant.
For the past five years Prof Pollock, who is also a renal transplant physician at Royal North Shore Hospital, has sat on the steering committee of the clinical trial CREDENCE, which was stopped prematurely last year because of overwhelming evidence the drug reduced the need for dialysis or a transplant and also reducing heart attack, stroke and death due to cardiovascular disease.
"The last time we saw any benefit of a drug on prevention or amelioration of kidney failure in patients with diabetes was in 2001," she said.