The results of a pioneering UK-wide clinical trial that compared treatments for patients with a common type of kidney disease has found one to be significantly more effective. The results of the study, published online in The Lancet today [9 Jan], will be recommended to clinicians worldwide as the most effective approach to treating the condition.
The Medical Research Council-funded study, led by researchers from the University of Bristol's Academic Renal Unit based in Southmead Hospital, compared three treatment approaches in a type of kidney disorder known as 'membranous nephropathy'.
The condition, which leads to changes and inflammation of the structures inside the kidney that help filter wastes and fluids, is usually managed with immunosuppressive drugs but has a high risk of causing kidney failure in patients. Previous studies of the disorder, which is costly to treat (kidney failure treatments cost $40 billion in the US in 2008), show that once kidney function starts to decline, continued deterioration can be expected.
The research team, led by Professor Peter Mathieson, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, carried out a randomised controlled trial involving 108 patients with 20 per cent decline in renal function at 37 renal units across the UK. The patients were randomised to one of three treatment approaches and followed up by the team over three years.
The team evaluated results from 33 patients who were treated with prednisolone and chlorambucil, 37 patients with ciclosporin and 38 who were provided with supportive therapy alone.