A new strategy developed by researchers from Fundacion Jimenez Diaz University Hospital-Health Research Institute at the Autonomous University of Madrid, may help halt the progression of kidney disease in patients with diabetes. The approach is highlighted in an article entitled, “Suppressor of cytokine signaling-1 (SOCS1) peptidomimetic limits progression of diabetic nephropathy,” published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The approach targets a cellular pathway called JAK/STAT that is chronically activated in diabetes and mediates the damaging effects of high blood sugar on kidney cells. The researchers developed a compound that mimics the protein Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 1 (SOCS1) that helps regulate JAK/STAT, and they found that it can enter cells, inhibit the deleterious effects of high blood sugar on kidney cells, and slow the progression of kidney disease in diabetic mice. In addition, it was able to protect the kidneys in both early and advanced phases of diabetes, it improved kidney function, and it reduced expression of genes associated with kidney inflammation and scarring. These effects occurred independently of blood glucose levels.

“Our goal is to develop the compound as a novel approach to combat chronic complications of diabetes,” said lead author Jesus Egido, MD, PhD and Carmen Gomez-Guerrero, PhD. “We plan to initiate preclinical development to support early-phase clinical trials.”