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Arthritis Drug May Also Help Inherited Kidney Disease

Recent work in the lab of Thomas Weimbs, associate professor in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and in the Neuroscience Research Institute at UCSB, has revealed a key difference between kidney cysts and normal kidney tissue. The discovery reveals that patients with an inherited kidney disease may be helped by Leflunomide, a drug that is currently approved for treating rheumatoid arthritis.

Leflunomide was shown to inhibit the STAT6 pathway in cells. This signaling pathway is locked in a state of continuous healthy kidneys.

Over 600,000 people in the U.S., and 12 million worldwide, are affected by autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). The disease is characterized by the proliferation of cysts that eventually debilitate the kidneys, causing kidney failure in half of all patients by the time they reach age 50.

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