Diabetic Nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease

About the Kidneys

The kidneys are two fist-sized organs that sit on either side of the spine toward the bottom of the rib cage. They remove waste products and excess fluid from the bloodstream and create urine, filtering about 200 quarts of fluid every day. The kidneys also regulate critical hormones and the production of red blood cells, and create a potent form of vitamin D. Each kidney contains up to a million functioning units called nephrons that make urine through a complex excretion and re-absorption process.1

Diabetic Nephropathy Basics

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) occurs when the kidney does not function properly, becomes damaged, or has another type of abnormality. Diabetic nephropathy affects 20-25% of the diabetic population, many of whom are Type 1 or Type 2 diabetics. As the leading cause of CKD, it strikes up to 30% of the 382 million diabetics worldwide and is responsible for 30-40% percent of all End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) cases2, which can lead to dialysis, transplantation or death. The condition can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, but is most prevalent in those of African, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander or Native American descent3 who are age 60 or older.4

Disease Signs and Symptoms

Diabetic nephropathy occurs when insulin is not well controlled and blood sugar spikes, causing the kidneys to leak protein into the urine, which results in damage and reduced waste filtering. Signs of the disease include a significantly high amount of the blood protein albumin in the urine, high blood pressure and renal function decline. Symptoms can be non-specific but include fluid buildup, poor appetite, weakness, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, and upset stomach. A doctor can perform blood and urine tests to confirm a diagnosis.5

Treatment Landscape

Today, diabetic nephropathy comprises 12% of all Medicare costs, in large part because kidney dialysis costs approximately $90 thousand a year per patient. Current treatments include a low-protein diet, diuretics or blood pressure medications called ACE inhibitors, but none of these standards of care is effective at preventing or stopping disease progression.6 Vascular Pharmaceuticals believes that VPI-2690B’s disease modifying approach represents a novel strategy to halt and, potentially, reverse the underlying negative cellular mechanisms triggered by diabetes.

Filtration Membrane

Components of the filtration membrane


  1. National Kidney Foundation. “How Your Kidneys Work.” 2013. Accessed on December 15, 2014 at: https://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease/howkidneyswrk.
  2. National Kidney Foundation. “Preventing Diabetic Kidney Disease: 10 Answers to Questions.” 2014. Accessed on December 15, 2014 at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/preventkiddisease.
  3. National Kidney Foundation. “How Your Kidneys Work.” 2013. Accessed on December 15, 2014 at: https://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease/howkidneyswrk.
  4. National Kidney Foundation. “Aging and Kidney Disease.” 2013. Accessed on December 15, 2014 at: https://www.kidney.org/news/monthly/wkd_aging.
  5. American Diabetes Associations. “Kidney Disease (Nephropathy).” Updated December 10, 2013. Accessed on December 15,2015 at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/kidney-disease-nephropathy.html.
  6. National Kidney Foundation. “Diabetes and Kidney Disease (Stages 1-4).” November 2014. Accessed on December 15, 2014 at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/Diabetes-and-Kidney-Disease-Stages1-4.