Cypriot patients suffering from Medullary cystic kidney disease (MCKD) will be among the first to be eligible for clinical trials with a promising new drug, the University of Cyprus (UCy) has said.
In a statement, UCy said the opportunity afforded to Cypriots arises out of the university’s collaboration with researchers from the Czech Republic and the United States.
UCy’s Molecular Medicine Research Centre participated in a meeting of medical experts recently held at the Harvard Medical School in the United States.
Taking part for UCy were professors Constantinos Deltas and Grigoris Papagrigoriou.
According to the statement, the most significant outcome of that meeting was the possibility of launching limited clinical trials with a drug expected to be approved soon by the US’s Federal Drug Administration.
Whereas the drug is intended for treatment of another disease, scientists believe it could also be used to treat MCKD.
MCKD is a rare condition in which small, fluid-filled sacs called cysts form in the centre of the kidneys. These cysts scar the kidneys and cause them to malfunction.
The clinical trials hold the promise of extending kidney function and perhaps reversing the risk of total kidney failure in patients.
Cypriot patients, particularly of a younger age, are urged to maintain constant contact with their nephrologist for monitoring, thus facilitating their eligibility for participation in the clinical trials.
According to the UCy, although MCKD is a rare disease, it has been traced in villages of the Paphos district at a “considerably higher incidence” than normal.
The first in-depth research into the disease took place some 20 years ago. The research was conducted by a team under professor Deltas, and following clinical observations by doctors Alkis Pierides and Christoforos Stavrou.
The Cypriot team was the first to identify to identify the gene responsible for MKCD, back in 1988.