The adult polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disease that affects about 1 in 1000 people. In many cases, it damages the kidneys to the point of making them unused. As a result, the patient is forced to spend the rest of his life on dialysis. Researchers at the Mario Negri Institute may have found an alternative solution, however. It appears that the octreotide drug slows cyst development and allows the kidneys to function longer.
The researchers involved 100 patients in a study called "Aladin 2", all with impaired kidney function. Half of them received octreotide once a month for 3 years, half received a placebo to act as a control group. Patients in the first group showed clear improvements over those in the second.
The drug slowed cyst growth and preserved part of the kidney function. This has reduced the need for dialysis, even in cases with severe kidney damage. It has not eliminated the damage already present, but at least has reduced the development of new ones. The hope is to be able to use the drug to prevent kidney failure, saving dialysis on patients identified in time. The study represents a big step forward compared to standard treatments.
Today, secondary disorders of the polycystic kidney are mainly dealt with, such as arterial hypertension and metabolic alterations. Unfortunately, there were no ways to slow or stop the development of cysts. It seems that things are changing.