The kidneys filter about 200 liters of blood a day to produce up to two liters of urine. This process removes wastes from the body (urea, uric acid, creatinine, potassium and phosphorus) through a complex system that includes mechanisms of filtration, reabsorption and excretion. When the kidney fails, in what is called acute renal failure, the ability to eliminate these wastes is lost, which can cause chronic illness or even death.

When acute renal failure occurs, the kidneys stop cleaning toxins from the blood and making the necessary hormones for the whole body to function. Last year there were 13 million [cases of] acute renal failure and this year one in five adults and one in three children will have this problem. 50% of them will die,” said Alberto Tejedor, director of the Pathophysiology Laboratory of the Madrid Hospital (Spain).

Acute renal failure is recurrent and complicated due to its appearance as a side effect not only of chronic pathologies, mainly diabetes, but also as a result of pharmacological and medical treatments that used to be considered safe. In fact, more than 40% of acute renal failure is related to damage caused by side effects of pharmacological or medical treatments.

Now, the team of the Nephrology Service at Gregorio Marañón Hospital has shown that a new drug called cilastatin protects the kidney in more than 80% of cases against the toxicity of drugs widely used in the treatment of certain cancers, transplants or infections.

According to scientists, once cells’ damage by a toxic drug occurs, cilastatin will prevent that death signals reach the neighboring cells, which would produce their death too. “Kidney damage is limited in this way,” adds Lázaro.

Cilastatin allows using safety other drugs that without it would damage the kidney. It increases safety in cancer treatments, allows the continuity of drugs to avoid organ donation, and new antibiotics that haven’t been approved due to kidney damage can stared to be used, says Tejedor.

Additionally, cilastatin also decreases toxicity of some of the drugs used for AIDS patients.

So far, the team of scientists has already done all the relevant preclinical trials and has published studies in several international scientific journals that support their results. The researchers are currently working with the biopharmaceutical company Spherium Biomed in order to get the drug to clinical practice.

 

Source: Agencia ID