Could good old H2O be the key to treating an incurable, common and potentially fatal genetic kidney disease affecting thousands? A team of researchers from the Westmead Hospital and the Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, hope that a pioneering national clinical trial will reveal answers.
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is an inherited condition caused by mutations in proteins responsible for the normal structure and function of the key units – nephrons – that make up the blood filtration system of the kidney. The disease manifests in the form of an enlarged, dysfunctional kidney due to cyst formation, which begins in early childhood and accelerates throughout adulthood, requiring dialysis or transplants to survive.
The methodology for the current trial— called PREVENT-ADKPD— has been published in the journal BMJ Open, described by a team led by Annette Wong.
The randomised study involves using a formula to prescribe the correct volume of water to be consumed every day. Wong and colleagues hypothesise that increased hydration will act to suppress a hormone called vasopressin, which has been linked to cyst growth and the destruction of healthy kidney tissue.
Patients in the treatment arm will self-monitor their water consumption using a diary or an app, and will be supported along the way. Participants will be followed up regularly for three years, and undergo various tests including MRIs to assess kidney function.
The researchers are hopeful that this trial may yield the first viable, safe and inexpensive treatment for ADPKD. Recruitment began in December 2015 at various private hospitals across the Australian state of New South Wales, and is in its last leg.
If you know of anyone who could possibly benefit from participating in this study, enrolments close on February 28. The study team can be contacted via email: [email protected]
Geetanjali Rangnekar is a science communicator and editor, based in Adelaide, Australia.
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