Organisers of a University of Queensland-led clinical trial to test the effectiveness of a diabetes drug to slow the progression of polycystic kidney disease are looking for patients to take part in a trial.
Study-lead Professor Andrew Mallett from UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience said the trial, conducted with the Australasian Kidney Trials Network, aims to find a new treatment.
"We're investigating the diabetes drug metformin - we already have a wealth of data about how it works and it's relatively inexpensive," Professor Mallett said.
"We know it is safe, and now we want to explore its potential to slow the rate of kidney decline in polycystic kidney disease.
"It is the most common life-limiting genetic disease, but there's a real lack of targeted therapies."
Professor Mallett, who is a kidney specialist at Townsville University Hospital, said about 1.8 million Australians suffer from kidney disease, while one in three are at risk of being diagnosed in the future.
"Kidney disease is often asymptomatic, so regular health checks are really important," he said.
"Patients can lose 90 per cent of kidney function without experiencing symptoms, which can be devastating for them and their families.
"Our aim is to use metformin to treat and slow down polycystic kidney disease so patients either can defer or never need dialysis or transplant.
"We designed the trial with patients' needs in mind - many have expressed they would rather be treated at home where they can continue to live a normal life.
"Because metformin is safe, they can take the drug at home and we can monitor them virtually, which makes the experience more comfortable and convenient for patients."
Australasian Kidney Trials Network deputy chair Professor David Johnson, from UQ's Faculty of Medicine, said the team is recruiting 250 people aged between 18 and 70 with Autosomal Dominant Australasian Kidney Trials Network to take part in the trial, which will run at 12 sites across Australia.
Patients can consult their kidney specialist or go to click here to find out more about the trial.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.