The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, says this is the first time a drug therapy has led to improved kidney function for patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
Dr. Robert Toto -- director of the Houston J. and Florence A. Doswell Center for the Development of New Approaches for the Treatment of Hypertension at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas -- says the study involved 227 adult patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. The study participants were divided into four groups – three receiving different dosages of bardoxolone methyl, an anti-inflammatory drug, and the fourth group receiving a placebo, which acted as the control.
The patients were tracked for 56 weeks, with measurements of their kidney function taken every four weeks. At weeks 24 and 52, researchers say they observed an overall significant increase in the estimated glomerular filtration rates -- measurements of how well the kidneys are functioning -- for those receiving the drug.
At 56 weeks -- four weeks after researchers stopped administering the drug -- a third measurement showed patients were still maintaining a slightly higher level of kidney function compared to baseline measurements taken at the study's start.