A new drug to treat diabetic kidney disease? Taubman Scholar Dr. Frank Brosius partners in clincial trial

With almost 2 million new cases diagnosed each year, more than 8% of the U.S. population has diabetes. And roughly 30% will eventually develop diabetic kidney disease.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School are partnering with Eli Lilly and Company in using a human genome-wide data set, together with mouse models, to identify a key driver of diabetic kidney disease. 

Sponsored by Lilly, a new clinical study will examine whether a drug being developed to treat arthritis and skin diseases can be repurposed to help prevent progression of diabetic kidney disease. It takes advantage of genome-wide expression data analyzed by Matthias Kretzler, M.D., Frank Brosius, M.D. and their teams, as well as the investigators’ expertise in animal models of diabetic complications.

"We prioritized this pathway as the most relevant in diabetic nephropathy," said Kretzler. "Together with data from model systems published, there was such strong evidence that Lilly repurposed their compound and started a phase II trial in less than 15 months. It’s exciting because this kind of collaboration between industry and academia is exactly the way we can accelerate new therapies to help patients."

Kretzler is widely recognized for international multicenter studies of genome-wide expression profiles of major diseases affecting human kidneys including diabetes, hypertension and autoimmune diseases like lupus.

"Dr. Kretzler put together a network of research teams to establish a worldwide human genome-wide renal gene expression consortium,” noted Brosius, whose lab is one of 12 organizations participating in the NIH-sponsored Animal Models of Diabetic Complications Consortium. "Then my group provided the animal model studies and the in-depth understanding of diabetic complications that allowed us to focus on the pathway. This highly collaborative approach makes the U-M one of the only places in the world with the combined expertise to move this project forward."


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