The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative medicine is recognized as an international leader in clinical scientific discoveries. They are also renowned for being responsible for the development and implantation of the first engineered organ for a patient. This institution is currently investigating how cats with chronic kidney issues could someday assist in the effort for treatment in humans. Chronic kidney conditions, marked by a plethora of symptoms due to the kidneys not being able to filter blood efficiently and suffering damage over time, can have its progression slowed if intervention is swift and the condition is acknowledged.
Although kidney damage can progress to end-stage kidney failure where it is known to be fatal without dialysis, there is the possibility of life-saving transplant, though the process is harrowing. About 37 million people that live in the United States suffer from chronic kidney troubles, according to the CDC.
The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that about 58 million cats currently live in the United States. Chronic kidney issues affect about 30-50% of cats with an age range of 15 years and older. As a result of this, fibrosis or scarring can occur and is a common final pathway for worsening kidney function in both people and animals. For cats, unfortunately, end-stage kidney problems have no cure.
In a brand new study published by Frontiers in Veterinary Science, a research team tested the effects of a cell-derived molecular therapy to treat fibrosis in a cat’s kidney. These regenerative therapies use stem cells and vascular fractions and have been successfully tested. The collection of these cells or cell fractions are expensive, time consuming, and require cell processing not available in most general practices.
Furthermore, the use of these cell-based molecules treat kidney fibrosis and give it a more promising approach. Current treatments include therapies and management for one’s diet to slow progression of kidney damage and increase longevity. In this study, researchers used a cell-signaling chemokine-CXCL12 that produces cells and stimulates the generation of tissue. Recombinant human CXCL12 is available commercially, it is inexpensive compared to others, but is proven to slow the progression of fibrosis in rodent models where chronic kidney problems are present.
The major goal of this study was to test the safety, possibility, and efficacy of ultrasound-guided, intra-renal CXCL12 injection in all cats with kidney fibrosis. This test happened first in a preclinical cat model, then in a pilot study for cats who possibly have early signs of kidney disease.
The results in these studies together show that intra-renal injection of CXCL12 may possibly provide a potential therapeutic effect on early signs of kidney problems. Which included the widespread use and capability, said co-author Koudy Williams, DVM. Although, further clinical evaluations will be needed. WFIRM Director, Anthony Atala MD, stated that this research is a great example of how this type of chronic condition, common in both cats and dogs, can be researched upon and potentially applied to the disease in humans today. For more of the latest information on kidney issues in cats, dogs and people be sure to tune in to our very own YouTube channel, updated regularly!