UKidney Nephrology News and Insights

SEP
14
0

MR elastography: Revolutionizing the assessment of renal fibrosis

Drs. Anish Kirpalani and Darren Yuen, both of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, appear to be on the verge of a major practice-changing advance in the assessment of chronic kidney disease. Their study, appearing in cJASN, describes the new methodology which assesses kidney fibrosis in a novel way using MRI. We caught up with the authors of this exciting study and they shared some further perspective on their exciting findings.

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MAY
25
0

More positive news for Tolvaptan (Jinarc) in ADPKD: Reprise Study topline results

Topline results of the Reprise Study in ADPKD have been announced and the good news continues for ADPKD. According to top-line results released by Otsuka, the maker of Tolvaptan:

- Primary and key secondary endpoints were positive for tolvaptan vs. placebo in an additional Phase 3 clinical trial that examined the efficacy and safety of tolvaptan in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)- The data are intended to address the Complete Response Letter (CRL) issued by the FDA for a New Drug Application (NDA) for tolvaptan in ADPKD in 2013- Trial results will be submitted for presentation at a nephrology medical congress in the second half of 2017
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JUN
15
0

SGLT2 inhibitors and nephroprotection: a perspective on the renal outcome data

A long awaited analysis of the renal outcomes from the EMPA-REG study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 14th [2].  As originally reported on UKidney, compared to patients taking placebo, the use of empagliflozin was associated with significant improvements in important renal end-points, namely doubling of serum creatinine and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). While these results are indeed very promising, some perspective is warranted when considering the potential nephroprotective properties of this drug, and of the SGLT2 inhibitor class in general.

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NOV
08
2

Empagliflozin and renal outcomes: further insights in to the renal protection of SGLT2 inhibitors

As we continue to process data from the EMPA-REG renal outcomes presentation - which most importantly showed a 46% reduction in the composite of creatinine doubling, end-stage renal disease or renal death - speculation is well underway to explain the mechanism for renal protection. And the emerging story appears to be quite fascinating indeed. 

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NOV
07
1

Renal outcomes with Empagliflozin: a game-changer

Data from the EMPA-REG study were unveiled in Stockholm 6 weeks ago. In more than 7,000 adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D) at high risk for CV events, EMPA-REG OUTCOME met its primary endpoint and demonstrated superiority of JARDIANCE, when added to standard of care, in CV risk reduction. The primary endpoint was defined as time to first occurrence of either CV death, or non-fatal myocardial infarction or non-fatal stroke[1].

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FEB
26
0

Jinarc (Tolvaptan) approved in Canada for the management of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)

Canada becomes the first country outside Japan to approve JinarcTM (Tolvaptan) for the treatment of ADPKD. This medication, dosed twice daily, is the first of its kind to show a slowing in renal function decline as well as a slowing in kidney enlargement among patients with ADPKD.

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JAN
28
1

Dream RCT: A placebo-controlled trial of hyperphosphatemia management

Dream RCT logoImagining the Dream RCT in nephrology is an important exercise, but not for the reasons you might think. For many, there might be the temptation to devise trials that will pave the way for future enhancements to patient care or to some other exciting, forward thinking outcome. For me however, the Dream RCT in nephrology is about shattering or affirming nephrology dogma - and in nephrology we seem to have more dogma influencing core tenets of our specialty than in other medical disciplines. There is a popular saying among those in the clinical epidemiology world - that you don’t need to conduct an RCT to prove that parachutes are required when jumping out of a plane. Unfortunately in nephrology, thought leaders have bestowed parachute status on too many interventions. I can think of no better example for this analogy than treating hyperphosphatemia in CKD/ESRD. And it is this topic that would underlie my Dream RCT.

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JUL
29
2

Are calcium-based phosphate binders obsolete?

As reported on UKidney, earlier in July 2013, Jamal et al published a systematic review comparing calcium-based phosphate binders with non-calcium-based phosphate binders in terms of their impact on cardiovascular outcomes. This pivotal work shows a small but statistically significant advantage of non-calcium-based binders over calcium vis-à-vis mortality outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease and hyperphosphatemia.

Calcium dose has been implicated in the development of vascular calcification and in the excess cardiovascular morbidity common in patients with CKD, especially those on dialysis. The hope for non-calcium-based phosphate binders has always been that by limiting calcium intake, patients taking non-calcium-based binders would benefit from phosphate reduction without the exposure to potentially harmful dosages of calcium. While individual clinical trials have failed to show any clear advantage of non-calcium-based phosphate binders in terms of reducing cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, this latest systematic review now shows a statistically significant advantage of non-calcium-based phosphate binders over calcium in terms of limiting mortality in patients with CKD.

So where do we go from here? There will likely be discussion as to whether the finding in this systematic review is valid. Furthermore, even if the effect is indeed real, the cost of non-calcium-based binders over calcium-based binders is substantial. Nevertheless, it is likely time to consider whether calcium-based phosphate binders should be made obsolete. There are now substantial data supporting at least a modest effect of calcium dose on mortality and the rationale for using phosphate binders that are not calcium-based. An important question remains as to whether hyperphosphatemia should be treated at all – that is, with binders of any sort. It is entirely possible that non-calcium-based phosphate binders are superior to calcium simply because they limit calcium intake and that the drugs themselves do not offer any other outcome advantage - even if they lower phopshate.

And so, while this systematic review comes closer to answering a long-standing question in nephrology related to optimal phosphate binder class, it underscores an important lingering question as to whether hyperphosphatemia requires treatment at all. To answer this critical question, we require a long overdue placebo-controlled trial of hyperphosphatemia treatment. Objections to a placebo-controlled trial in this area have often centered around the ethics of withholding treatment for hyperphohsphatemia in the form of phosphate binders. However, there appears to be equipoise in this area; there is real uncertainty as to the saftey of calcium-based phosphate binders and whether hyperphosphatemia truly mediates cardiovascular illness in patients with CKD, or if it is only a disease association and nothing more.

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JUL
22
0

Calcium-based phosphate binders likely harmful in CKD

Researchers from the University of Toronto and the University of Alberta add to existing data that calcium-based phosphate binders are harmful compared to binders that do not contain calcium. An updated systematic review on this topic that appears in the July 19th online version of the Lancet shows that patients with CKD across 8 studies (5 randomized) treated with non-calcium based binders had a 22% reduction in all-cause mortality compared to those taking calcium based binders.

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JUN
21
0

SAVOR Trial Negative: No CVD advantage for Saxagliptin

Top-line results for the SAVOR trial were announced this week in which Saxagliptin (Onglyza, Bristol-Myers Squibb/AstraZeneca) failed to demonstrate superiority over placebo in reducing a composite end point of cardiovascular death, nonfatal MI, or nonfatal ischemic stroke when added to usual care in patients with type 2 diabetes with either a history of established CVD or multiple CVD risk factors.  While the trial did demonstrate non-inferiority from a cardiovascular safety perspective, it failed to show any efficacy advantage. As reported originally on theheart.org:

Princeton, NJ and Wilmington, DE - The SAVOR-TIMI 53 trial has failed to demonstrate the superiority ofsaxagliptin (Onglyza, Bristol-Myers Squibb/AstraZeneca) over placebo in reducing a composite end point of cardiovascular death, nonfatal MI, or nonfatal ischemic stroke when added to usual care in patients with type 2 diabetes with either a history of established CVD or multiple CVD risk factors [1].

The trial sponsors, Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca, announced the top-line results from the trial early this morning. The full findings will be presented September 2, 2013 at the European Society of Cardiology(ESC) 2013 Congress. The trial did meet its "primary safety objective of noninferiority" vs placebo, a joint statement from the companies reads. SAVOR-TIMI-53 is part of an ESC hot-line session dedicated to risk factors and diabetes. The full schedule of ESC 2013 hot lines was published on the ESC website earlier this week.

Saxagliptin is a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor approved in the US, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. Other, nonrandomized analyses had raised hopes that this class of drugs might have a protective effect on the vasculature of diabetes patients.

Saxagliptin was the first new diabetes drug to receive FDA approval after the issuance of new agency guidelines in July 2009, requiring companies to perform CV-outcomes studies with new diabetes drugs. The drug's clinical development program had been completed before the guidance, but because of the new rule, the company launched SAVOR-TIMI 53. The four-year-long trial had a target enrollment of 16 500 patients, and principal investigators for the trial are Dr Itamar Raz (Hadassah Medical Organization, Jerusalem, Israel) and Dr Deepak Bhatt (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA).

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NOV
03
3

Tolvaptan in Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD): the most exciting nephrology development in years

The High Impact Clinical Trials Session at this year's American Society of Nephrology Renal Week was the site of one of the most important and exciting nephrology developments to materialize in years. Researchers presented the results of a Phase 3 study using Tolvaptan (a vasopressin receptor antagonist) for the treatment of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). Previously a disease with no medical treatment, ADPKD accounts for 10% of the dialysis population and is associated with pain, hematuria, hypertension and a number of extra-renal manifestations.

The Tempo 3:4 Study randomized 1445 patients to receive a mean dose of 95 mg of Tolvaptan versus placebo over a 3 year period of observation. Patients receiving active drug experienced a slowing of kidney volume by 50% and also a slower deterioration in GFR,  the primary and secondary outcomes of the study respectively. While there was a greater number of adverse effects related to the medication (polyuria, thirst, hyperuricemia, gout, hepatitis, hypernatremia), there were less ADPKD-related effects (pain, hemturia, urinary tract infection).

While the primary invstigator V. E Torrres was quick to temper enthusiasm until regulatory bodies such as the FDA weigh in on these findings, this study is a major breakthrough in the management of ADPKD and represents a shining example of bench to bedside research that will provide hope for a large group of patients who previously had no medical option for delaying the onset of end-stage renal disease in ADPKD. This will truly be a fascinating story to watch unfold as more study in this area continues.

Please see the New England Journal of Medicine publication here.

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OCT
18
0

Bardoxolone study terminated over excess mortality

Some very disappointing news released today, as seen on Reuters:


Oct 18 (Reuters) - Abbott Laboratories Inc said its partner Reata Pharmaceuticals was discontinuing a late-stage trial of their potential blockbuster treatment for chronic kidney disease and diabetes based on safety concerns raised by an independent safety committee. The news for bardoxolone represents a major setback for Abbott just months before the planned Jan. 1 spinoff of its branded prescription drugs into a separate publicly traded company called AbbVie. Without the high-profile drug, Wall Street concerns about AbbVie's dependence on Abbott's $8 billion-a-year rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira could intensify. An independent data monitoring committee found excess serious adverse events and mortality in patients taking the oral anti-inflammatory drug, Abbott said in a regulatory filing.

Regulators were notified of the decision, and study participants were being informed, the company said.

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AUG
06
0

Fascinating new therapy for PCKD on the horizon

While the nephrology community awaits the outcome of a much awaited study of tolvaptan on progression of polycystic kidney disease (PCKD), a new story is emerging with very intriguing possibilities.
 
Previously on UKidney, we reported the disappointing outcomes with mTOR-based treatments on PCKD outcomes. While in one study with everolimus, cyst volume was blunted, renal functional loss was unchanged at the expense of greater side effects. The problem with this approach in treating PCKD is one that plagues drug therapy for many other conditions, namely that one must expose all tissues to a drug in the hope that target organ, receives adequate therapeutic exposure. The result of this strategy is overdosing the bystander organs and potentially under-dosing the target organ.
 
A new drug is emerging that could change all of this. FC-rapa conjugates rapamycin with folate, capitalizing on the observation that PCKD cells express high levels of folate receptors. The result is that this chimeric compound delivers a greater concentration of the drug to its target while sparing a greater number of bystander tissues. According to Dr. Jonathan M. Shillingford, who is lead investigator in this work, the uptake of FC-rapa by tissues other than the kidney would be negligible and in their studies, only kidney cells were shown to take up the chimeric compunds (see commment below). Endocyte, the company behind the congujgated rapamycin specializes in this technique which is being studied increasingly in cancer treatments as well. It is very early in the life-cycle of FC-rapa, but in one study seen in the Journal of the Amercian Society of Nephrology, the drug was highly effective at limiting cyst growth in mice while side effects are much fewer than with conventional rapamycin.
 
Along with the possibility of using tolvaptan to treat PCKD, this resurgence in mTOR-based treatments further brightens the horizon for patients with this disorder.
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JUN
20
3

Cinacelcet and cardiovascular outcomes: neutral study underscores a fundamental problem in nephrology research

Top-line results for the EVOLVE study using cinacalcet (Sensipar) in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) were reported last week. In this phase 3 placebo-controlled randomized trial of 3,883 patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism, those on active treatment received a titrated dose of cinacalcet starting at 30 mg/day up to 180mg and were followed for approximately 4 years. Patients were evaluated for the composite primary outcome of all-cause mortality or first non-fatal cardiovascular event, including myocardial infarction, hospitalization for unstable angina, heart failure or peripheral vascular event. Despite very promising biochemical outcomes from earlier studies with cinacalcet, the reduction in the primary outcome, while numerically positive, was not statistically significant. A more detailed analysis of this study will be completed once the paper is published.

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JAN
16
8

Treating microalbuminuria to reduce cardiovascular disease: an increasingly dangerous strategy

At the end of 2011, Novartis suspended the ALTITUDE Study, effectively ending the possibility that the direct renin inhibitor (DRI) Aliskiren will play a significant role in the management of patients with CKD already on an ACE or ARB. This development was disappointing but actually represents only part of a growing body of evidence that now casts major doubt on the use of microalbuminuria (MAU) as a treatment surrogate in patients with cardiovascular disease.

The use of MAU as a predictor of cardiovascular risk is sound and supported by a sizable evidence base. There is little doubt that patients with risks for cardiovascular disease who also have MAU are at far greater risk for adverse outcomes including death. In numerous studies, including the Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation (HOPE) Trial [7], MAU was the single most potent risk factor for adverse outcomes, with greater predictive power than diabetes, male gender, smoking and hypertension. The fascinating part of this observation is that even seemingly modest elevation in MAU was highly predictive of adverse events. It was very tempting then to anticipate a concomitant reduction in risk among patients whose MAU was targeted for therapeutic reduction with any of: (1) high dose ACE or ARB, (2) combination ACE and ARB, and most recently, (3) combination ACE or ARB with DRI. Unfortunately, recent prospective studies have essentially decimated this hypothesis and in all, proteinuria improved whereas patients did not or actually fared worse.

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JUL
26
0

Generic drugs: a dangerous public misunderstanding?

Dr. Elizabeth Cohen, senior medical correspondent for CNN's Health, Medical and Wellness unit made a dangerously incorrect statement in her report on generic drugs in the US (Seen at approximately 1:37 of the following video).

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JUL
02
2

Bardoxolone in Chronic Kidney Disease: A major breakthrough?

In this week's New England Journal of Medicine, Pergola et al report the results of a phase 2 randomized trial of an antioxidant inflammation modulator, bardoxolone, in patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Over a period of 52 weeks, 227 adults with CKD (defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate [GFR] of 20 to 45 ml per minute per 1.73 m2 of body-surface area) were randomized in a 1:1:1:1 ratio to receive placebo or bardoxolone methyl at a target dose of 25, 75, or 150 mg once daily. Primary outcome was a change from baseline in the estimated GFR with bardoxolone, as compared with placebo, at 24 weeks; a secondary outcome was the change at 52 weeks. The results were quite surprising.

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MAR
04
0

Growing new kidneys? An idea whose time may have come

This fascinating video discusses the concept of organ generation as a method of bridging the enormous gap between supply and demand that exists among patients who experience organ failure.

This may well move from science fiction to the mainstream in the not-too-distant future.

Click 'Read more' below to see the video

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FEB
17
0

Chloroquine in Lupus: Prevents flares and saves lives

This is a great post on chloroquine in lupus. It appears as below on Skin and Allergy News. A great and promising read:

SNOWMASS, Colo. – The past 12 months have brought a slew of studies making a persuasive case for hydroxychloroquine as a far more important drug in lupus than previously thought. Indeed, the drug could now even be considered essential.

"In 2011, all lupus patients should receive hydroxychloroquine," Dr. David Wofsy flatly declared at a symposium sponsored by the American College of Rheumatology.

"The indication for hydroxychloroquine in lupus is lupus," added Dr. Wofsy, professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of California, San Francisco.

There is now solid evidence that hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) prevents lupus flares, treats the skin manifestations of the disease, protects against thromboembolic events, prevents cardiac neonatal lupus, and prolongs life.

"It will be a very long time before we've proven that any biologic therapy can do all those things," Dr. Wofsy, who is also chief of rheumatology at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

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JAN
23
0

Is rosuvastatin (Crestor) nephrotoxic?

The Planet 1 and 2 studies are not widely publicized. However, they do provide some eye-opening information.

According to these studies, in patients with diabetes and intact renal function, there was a significant decline in renal function and failure to reduce urinary protein in patients randomized to rosuvastatin but not atorvastatin. Furthermore, there were more renal events in the rosuvastatin group (doubling of serum creatinine and episodes of acute renal failure).

These results are very surprising and difficult to rationalize at face value. Nevertheless, the design of the trials appears sound and the number of patients adequate.

Dr. Marecllo Tonelli from the University of Alberta walks us through this data in his outstanding presentation seen here on UKidney

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