Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New drug target discovered for kidney disease

Date:
April 26, 2011
Source:
University of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
Two discoveries point to potential new drug therapies for patients with kidney disease.

Mouse polycystic kidney
Credit: Weimbs Lab, UCSB

Two discoveries at UC Santa Barbara point to potential new drug therapies for patients with kidney disease. The findings are published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Related Articles


Over 600,000 people in the U.S., and 12 million worldwide, are affected by the inherited kidney disease known as autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease, or 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.

Currently, no treatment exists to prevent or slow cyst formation, and most ADPKD patients require kidney transplants or lifelong dialysis for survival, explained Thomas Weimbs, director of the laboratory where the discoveries were made. Weimbs is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and the Neuroscience Research Institute at UCSB.

First, Weimbs and his research team discovered a molecular mechanism that sheds light on the disease. The mechanism concerns polycystin-1, a protein that is mutated in ADPKD patients. The team discovered how this protein regulates a well-known transcription factor called STAT3. Transcription factors transcribe information from DNA to RNA, from specific genes. Second, the team discovered that STAT3 is strongly, and aberrantly, activated in polycystic kidneys.

"The clinical significance of these discoveries lies in the fact that STAT3 is also known to be aberrantly activated in many forms of cancer and is considered an important drug target for cancer therapy," said Weimbs. "Numerous STAT3 inhibitors are currently being developed and tested, and several experimental drugs are already available. Our results suggest that STAT3 activation is a driving force for the cyst growth that leads to polycystic kidneys in ADPKD. Therefore, STAT3 may be a highly promising drug target for the treatment of ADPKD."

Weimbs explained further that STAT3 is a signaling molecule that is activated in response to many different growth factors binding to specific receptors on the surface of kidney cells. In response to these growth factors hitting the cell, STAT3 is activated. That causes STAT3 to turn on the expression of certain genes. This activity causes the cells to proliferate, as they do in cancer.

"In polycystic kidney disease, we have strong proliferation, but it is similar to having benign tumors -- where the tumor stays in place," said Weimbs. "The cysts keep growing, but they do not metastasize or invade other tissues as do cancerous tumors. Polycystic kidneys are full of small, benign tumors or cysts. This is still very destructive, because eventually the disease will destroy the kidney."

The research team is currently testing STAT3 as a drug target in mice with ADPKD.

The National Institutes of Health funded the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. J. Talbot, J. M. Shillingford, S. Vasanth, N. Doerr, S. Mukherjee, M. T. Kinter, T. Watnick, T. Weimbs. Polycystin-1 regulates STAT activity by a dual mechanism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1103816108

Cite This Page:

University of California - Santa Barbara. "New drug target discovered for kidney disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110426131817.htm>.
University of California - Santa Barbara. (2011, April 26). New drug target discovered for kidney disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110426131817.htm
University of California - Santa Barbara. "New drug target discovered for kidney disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110426131817.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins