Cancer drug 'could benefit kidney stones patients'
Article date: 10 September 2014
The lack of available medication for kidney stones could potentially be addressed by the issuing of drugs normally used in leukaemia and epilepsy cases.
Research carried out by experts at Washington University in St Louis found the class of drug associated with the treatment of the two conditions - known as histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDAC) - could also be beneficial for the additional ailment.
The breakthrough was made when scientists realised that two HDACs are beneficial in reducing calcium and magnesium levels in urine, with these two elements acting as key components in the makeup of kidney stones.
However, the study used mice to analyse the effects of the medication, which means that it is not yet known whether or not the approach will have an impact on kidney stones, as the animals do not develop them.
As a result, researchers are now hoping to follow up with an investigation involving human participants.
"We used one-twentieth of the dose typically used in humans and achieved significant results. We now want to test the drug in clinical trials for patients with kidney stones," said lead author professor Jianghui Hou.
Kidney stones are generally incredibly painful and occur when calcium and magnesium in the urine becomes too concentrated and crystalise. These deposits then get stuck in the urinary tract and block its flow.
Often, the condition is a result of poor dietary habits - and consuming too much salt or not drinking enough water can increase the risk of stones developing. It can also be a result of genetics, with some people more prone to experiencing them than others.
Professor Hou's study has been able to demonstrate that the drugs Vorinostat and trichostatin A can help to counteract the symptoms by mimicking a process carried out by the kidney that reabsorbs magnesium and calcium back into the urine, potentially paving the way for more effective treatment in the future.