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Diabetes & Kidney Disease

Global rise in cases of diabetes and related kidney disease prompts search for new treatments.

black and white image of two kidneys

When the World Health Organization updated its global list of the top 10 causes of death late last year, diabetes was a sobering yet potentially unsurprising addition. Over the past half century, the prevalence of diabetes has soared across the globe. The WHO reports that the number of people living with diabetes nearly quadrupled from 1980 to 2014.

One in three adults living with diabetes also has kidney disease, the U.S. National Institutes of Health reports. Diabetes can impact blood vessels in the kidneys and negatively affect the organs’ ability to filter out waste from blood, according to the Mayo Clinic. The condition, known as diabetic kidney disease (DKD), can lead to kidney failure, which can be life threatening.

The numbers clearly illustrate the need for new treatments to address a growing issue, said David Reiser, Principal Clinical Scientist for Clinical Pharmacology and Translational Development at CSL Behring.

“With the incidence of diabetes continuing to increase worldwide, the number of people living with diabetic kidney disease is also rising,” Reiser said. “It’s important that the medical community focus on discovering and developing potential new therapies in response.”

CSL Behring is investigating CSL346, an investigational antibody that blocks the activity of a protein involved in the management of fats within the body, called vascular endothelial growth factor B (VEGF-B), as a potential treatment for DKD. Researchers believe that CSL346 may be able to help decrease the amount of excess fat that is deposited in some body organs (like the kidneys) and causes damage.

Decreasing excess fat in the kidney may slow the loss of kidney function in patients with DKD, said Dr. Melisa Cooper, Senior Director, Translational Medicine for CSL Behring’s Cardiovascular & Metabolic Therapeutic Area.

“While DKD remains incurable, slowing the progression of DKD may be able to prolong or prevent patients’ need for dialysis or kidney transplant,” added Cooper.

A global Phase 2 clinical trial is currently underway to help understand CSL346’s effectiveness in treating DKD and CSL Behring is seeking volunteers to participate. For more information on this program please visit