Trial marks first use of drug as a potential treatment for kidney disease
The SIGN clinical trial, led by Professor Fred Tam from Imperial College London and designed in close collaboration with a member of Kidney Research UK’s lay advisory group, marked the first use of fostamatinib in a clinical trial for kidney patients.
Results from the international pilot study, recently published in the influential journal: Kidney International Reports, showed that the drug, which is usually used to treat a blood disorder, was able to reduce levels of proteinuria by blocking an enzyme called ‘spleen tyrosine kinase’ (known as SYK).
This supported the findings of Fred’s earlier lab-based studies which suggest that SYK is involved in causing the inflammation and resultant kidney injury associated with IgAN, and stimulating the body to attack healthy tissue in other autoimmune diseases.
Work on the design of the SIGN clinical trial, which was funded by Rigel Pharmaceuticals, began in 2013. In total, 76 patients with IgAN, aged from 18 to 70, were recruited from five countries in Europe, Asia and North America, with the last patient completing treatment in 2018.
Participants were randomly selected to receive different doses of fostamatinib or a placebo tablet, twice a day for 24 weeks. All had persistent, significant proteinuria at the start of the trial, despite receiving the standard medication to protect their kidneys. But at the end of the trial, the group with the most severe proteinuria at the start showed a promising response to the higher dose of fostamatinib.