Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Cystic kidney growth curbed

Several million people worldwide suffer from the genetic disorder polycystic kidney disease. Previously, only the symptoms of the disease could be treated. Teaming up with colleagues, researchers from the University of Zurich have now succeeded in curbing the growth of these cysts in humans.

Autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is one of the most common genetic disorders, affecting one in every 1,000 people and responsible for up to ten percent of patients on dialysis worldwide.

The disease is characterized by the development of cysts that lead to progressive kidney failure and necessitate dialysis or a kidney transplant in most patients aged around fifty. Moreover, the persistent cyst growth causes high blood pressure and painful complications. Although we have known about the disease for over a century and its genetic basis for almost 20 years, there was no effective treatment until now.

Kidneys stopped growing

“Our study highlights a potential treatment that reduces kidney growth and the associated symptoms and slows the decline in kidney function,” explains Professor Olivier Devuyst from the Institute of Physiology at the University of Zurich – one of the chief researchers in the phase-three clinical trial just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Over 1,400 patients were given tolvaptan over a three-year period at 129 centers worldwide. The drug is a selective V2 vasopressin receptor antagonist that lessens the effect of the antidiuretic (urine-concentrating) vasopressin hormone and increases urination.

The researchers studied whether tolvaptan slows the progression of the kidney disease by slowing the cyst growth. “The study achieved its goal,” explains Professor Devuyst. In patients who received tolvaptan for three years instead of the placebo, the entire kidney volume decreased with fewer complications resulting from the disease, the pain eased off and the decline in kidney function was slowed. Adverse events such as increased urination and thirst as well as increased liver enzymes and blood sodium level were apparent.

15-year research project

The study is the culmination of 15 years of research done by several research groups including that of Olivier Devuyst. They began by examining transport mechanisms in cells that coat the cysts and, in particular, identified the pathway of the V2 vasopressin receptor as a potential trigger for cystic kidney disease. The demonstration that blocking this receptor slows the disease and improves the kidney function in various animal models provided the rationale for the intervention study with tolvaptan.

Vicente E. Torres, Arlene B. Chapman, Olivier Devuyst, Ron T. Gansevoort, Jared J. Grantham, Eiji Higashihara, Ronald D. Perrone, Holly B. Krasa, John Ouyang, and Frank S. Czerwiec. Tolvaptan in patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. New England Journal of Medicine. November 3, 2012. Online publication:

The study was conducted in collaboration with the clinical research of the ADPKD at the University of Zurich’s Institute of Physiology and the Clinic for Nephrology at University Hospital Zurich (PD Dr. Andreas Serra and Professor Rudolf Wüthrich). The research team at the Clinic for Nephrology looks after one of the largest groups of ADPKD patients in Europe in close collaboration with SwissPKD (Schweizer Gesellschaft polyzystischer Nierenerkrankung) (

Nathalie Huber | Universität Zürich
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>