Rare kidney disease experts in Newcastle are set to test a new treatment for a potentially life-threatening kidney condition known as C3 Glomerulopathy (C3G).
Caused by a fault in the body’s immune system, C3G can lead to kidney failure, resulting in life-changing dialysis treatment.
There is currently no effective treatment for this condition however that may be about to change as the National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre based in Newcastle are the first in the world to recruit into a new early phase clinical trial to test a drug called LNP023.
Dr Edwin Wong, clinical lead for C3G at the Centre will lead the study alongside his renal research colleagues. He explains: “The complement system is part of the immune system – an important group of proteins in the blood that have strong germ-fighting abilities when activated.
“Normally, the immune system keeps you healthy by fighting germs like bacteria and viruses without harming the body itself.
“For patients with C3G, the complement system becomes over-active and actually starts to attack the body’s organs, damaging the kidneys in particular.”
Dr Wong continues: “At present there are no effective treatments for C3G, and around 50% of all patients with the condition are likely to develop kidney failure within 10 years of diagnosis, and end up needing dialysis or a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, the disease often returns and will also damage the new kidney.
“With such a poor prognosis for these patients, we are extremely excited to be the international leader for this new clinical trial. By leading this study we are offering patients the best chance of getting access to this treatment in a clinical trial. If successful, the new treatment would literally transform the lives of patients with C3G.”
The new study will look at the effectiveness of the new drug which acts as a complement inhibitor, effectively stopping the specific complement protein – C3 – becoming active unnecessarily, saving the kidneys from its harmful effects. Thanks to the hard work of the entire research team, the world’s first patient has been recruited to the trial.
Professor Stephen Robson, Clinical Director at NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria (CRN NENC) says: “Congratulations to Dr Wong and the team at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust for recruiting the first patient into the C3G study.
“This is a great achievement and demonstrates the calibre of the research carried out at the National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre.”
Professor Julia Newton, Deputy Medical Director for the Newcastle Hospitals adds: “Recruiting a first global patient is a crucial marker of clinical-research delivery for the life-sciences industry, and so this achievement is a clear demonstration that Newcastle has the infrastructure to compete on the international stage in terms of clinical research study set-up. Well done to everyone involved.”
The study is sponsored by pharmaceutical company Novartis. Dr Guido Junge, Translational Medicine Head for Autoimmunity, Transplantation and Renal Diseases at the Novartis Headquarter in Switzerland congratulated the study Principal Investigator Dr Wong and his entire team emphasizing the importance of this milestone bringing a new breakthrough medicine into the clinic.
The team at Newcastle has a longstanding reputation in the field of nephrology and were instrumental in the discoveries that led to the availability of treatments in another rare kidney disease called atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (aHUS).
In 2016, the National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre at the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was announced by NHS England as the specialised service provider for aHUS in 2016.