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Reducing proteinuria and delaying kidney failure are critical for patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.

Novel Drug Improves Rare Kidney Disorder in Phase 3 Trial

Some 42 percent of patients treated with sparsentan showed reduced proteinuria

University of Minnesota Medical School

The Mission of the University of Minnesota Medical School is to be a leader in enhancing the health of people through the education of skilled, compassionate and socially responsible physicians. With two campuses serving diverse populations in rural and urban Minnesota, the Medical School is dedicated to preeminent primary care medicine, exemplary specialty care and innovative research.

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Published:Nov 03, 2023
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MINNEAPOLIS — Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a rare kidney disorder that affects children and adults, and can lead to kidney failure. New findings from a team led by the University of Minnesota (U of M) Medical School show patients with FSGS who were treated with the medication, sparsentan, experienced improved kidney function—making it a potential new treatment option for the disorder.

Funded by Travere Therapeutics and published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine, this research suggests sparsentan may provide kidney protection by significantly reducing excess protein in the urine (proteinuria)—a proven indicator of kidney damage. 

“FSGS is a frustrating disease for children to deal with and affects their quality of life,” said Michelle Rheault, MD, professor at the U of M Medical School and pediatric nephrologist with M Health Fairview. “We're committed to offering our patients with kidney disease access to new treatments through our clinical trial options.”

Clinically, reducing proteinuria and delaying kidney failure are critical for patients. Around 184 FSGS patients in this study who were treated with sparsentan through two years of treatment had lower protein in their urine and were more likely to achieve complete remission compared to patients treated with irbesartan, the current standard treatment.

Although the endpoint for glomerular filtration rate was not achieved after two years of treatment, other improvements were seen, including: 

  • significant proteinuria reduction,

  • higher rates of partial or complete remission, and

  • lower rates of reaching end-stage kidney disease

These findings suggest sparsentan could be a potential new treatment option for FSGS. Further analysis is ongoing to determine which patients with FSGS may benefit the most from sparsentan.

- This press release was originally published on the University of Minnesota Medical School website