Revolutionizing Kidney Failure Treatment: A Breakthrough in Regenerative Medicine


Feb 2, 2023

Revolutionizing Kidney Failure Treatment: A Breakthrough in Regenerative Medicine

Breakthrough Treatment Show Promising Results in Reversing Kidney Failure in Mice

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), kidney failure, also known as chronic kidney disease (CKD), affects around 850 million people globally. This debilitating and often life-threatening condition is caused by a variety of factors, including acute infections, chronic diseases such as diabetes, and aging. In fact, Singapore has the highest rate of diabetes-induced kidney failure in the world and ranks fourth in terms of kidney failure prevalence.

Despite these alarming statistics, a glimmer of hope has emerged in the form of a recent pre-clinical study by a team of researchers from Duke-NUS Medical School and National Heart Centre Singapore. The team's findings, published in the Nature Communications Journal in December 2022, have the potential to be a

"real game-changer in the treatment of chronic kidney disease."

The Breakthrough Discovery

The researchers found that damaged kidneys have the innate ability to regenerate. By inhibiting a protein known for causing damage and scarring in organs like the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart, the researchers were able to restore renal function in mice with inflamed and scarred kidneys.

The treatment was a neutralizing antibody against the interleukin-11 (IL-11) protein. The team targeted the cells on the lining of the tiny tubes inside the kidney that return nutrients into the body, leaving urine behind. When treated with the neutralizing antibody, the tubule cells were able to proliferate and regenerate the kidney, reversing the damage.

The results of the pre-clinical study showed improvement in all of the mice, regardless of the extent of the kidney damage. Over a period of three months, the treatment resulted in more than 50% reversal of kidney dysfunction and fibrosis, and the kidneys were visibly "growing back." The researchers believe that the same could be achieved in humans and that the chance of the antibody working is high, as the study was also carried out on human cells with the same outcome.

The Therapy's Potential Impact

The therapy has the potential to be used across all types of kidney disease, according to Professor Stuart Cook, a cardiologist with the Duke-NUS Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders Programme and a clinical scientist at the National Heart Centre Singapore. The therapy could be used to treat people at risk of acute kidney disease to prevent it, to treat people who have acute kidney disease to reduce kidney damage, and to treat patients with established chronic kidney disease to reverse it.

The team believes that activating regeneration in the kidney is useful across all types of kidney disease, and the antibody has been shown to work in both old mice with kidney disease and in mice with kidney disease and diabetes. However, Professor Cook has warned that the treatment, when it becomes commercial, is likely to be "reasonably expensive," but added that "the cost of giving a drug that prevents someone going onto kidney dialysis is very small compared with the cost of dialysis itself."

Safety Trials and Clinical Trials

The next step for the team is to begin safety trials in healthy humans early in 2023. If these trials are successful, clinical trials in patients with fibrotic lungs are expected to begin in 2024, followed by trials among kidney patients. Pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim has purchased the license to carry out the clinical trials, as its researchers were involved in the pre-clinical study.

The Future of Kidney Failure Treatment

This discovery could bring us one step closer to delivering the benefits promised by regenerative medicine, according to Professor Thomas Coffman, dean of Duke-NUS Medical School and a member of the research team. The team has been working on this project for more than a decade and the results of their study hold great promise for the future of kidney failure treatment. With over 800 million people suffering from chronic kidney disease worldwide, this research could have a major impact on public health.

However, it's important to note that the experiment was only conducted on mice and there is still a long way to go before this treatment can be tested on humans. But if the results are replicated in humans, it could change the lives of millions of people suffering from kidney failure.

The study offers hope for a cure for kidney failure, which has traditionally been treated through dialysis or kidney transplant. However, these treatments are not always successful and can lead to other health problems. The regenerative approach that this study proposes has the potential to offer a more effective and long-lasting solution to kidney failure.


This recent discovery is an exciting development in the field of regenerative medicine and offers a glimmer of hope to those suffering from kidney failure. The researchers are looking forward to further studies to confirm the results and to determine if this treatment can be applied to humans. The future of kidney failure treatment looks brighter than ever before, and we can't wait to see what other breakthroughs the field of regenerative medicine will bring us in the coming years.

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About the Author

Rich Foreman brings over 30 years of technology leadership to his role of CEO and Co-Founder of KidneySoft.  As founding CTO, Rich led the team that developed the CordicoShield / CordicoFire Wellness App. Cordico was honored with the Sacramento Innovation Award in 2021. After achieving a 7 digit ARR, Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020. Rich has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington, an MPA from Troy State University and was an officer in the U.S. Navy. Rich co-authored his book, "Tap into the Mobile Economy." Rich's blog was listed in Top 20 Marketing Mobile Blogs of 2014. He has been featured on KCRA3, NEWS10, 1170 Tech AM PowerDrive, Business Radio Money 105.5, SiliconIndia, the Sacramento Business Journal, and the Sacramento Bee. Rich is also the Founding Director of the Sacramento Chapter of Startup Grind and served a term as Utility Commissioner for the City of Folsom. Rich is a regular contributor to and StartupSac. Rich was the Co-founder of Apptology which was named Small Business of the Year in 2014 by the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber. He was also the Founding Chief Technology Officer at Cordico. Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020.  Rich also served 4 years as a Naval Officer in the Civil Engineer Corps.

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