Abatacept may help in preventing the progression of kidney disease in patients with diabetes, according to a study slated for publication in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Paolo Fiorina, MD, PhD, of Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues used the drug to target B7-1, a receptor that is expressed by kidney cells during progression to diabetic nephropathy. Abatacept maintained kidney function in mice with diabetic nephropathy.

“The next steps will be to test anti-B7-1 in individuals with diabetes and diabetic nephropathy to see if they can abrogate the progression of the disease in humans as well,” Dr. Fiorina stated.

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Abatacept is primarily used to treat autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis by targeting receptors expressed in immune cells.