Graduate School of Medicine succeeds in developing new treatment for childhood-onset, complicated, Frequently Relapsing Nephrotic Syndrome (FRNS)

  • June 24, 2014
  • Research
  • Keywords: Research, Natural sciences, Medical & pharmaceutical


A research team led by Professor IIJIMA Kazumoto from the Department of Pediatrics at Kobe University’s Graduate School of Medicine and Ms. SAKO Mayumi, Divisin for Clinical Reseaech of the National Center for Child Health and Development conducted a physician-initiated clinical trial at nine centers in Japan on patients who experienced frequently relapsing nephrotic syndrome (FRNS) or steroid-dependent nephrotic syndrome (SDNS) in childhood. The research team revealed for the first time that Rituximab, a monoclonal antibody against the B surface antigen CD20, is an effective treatment, and that safety is within the range observed in clinical trials. An article about their achievement was published in The Lancet, Online First on June 23, 2014.

Childhood-onset nephrotic syndrome is the most common childhood chronic kidney disease, and approximately 1,000 children develop this illness in Japan each year. Through steroid treatment, urine protein disappears in most patients. However, half of the patients frequently relapse as a result of discontinuing steroidtreatment or reducing steroid dosage. This renders a long-term continuous administration of steroids, from which many patients suffer side effects such as growth disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, obesity and osteoporosis, and they are often hospitalized over a long period of time. For such patients, steroid dosages are reduced or steroid treatment is discontinued, and instead, immunosuppressive drug therapy such as cyclosporine is administered. Because 20 percent of patients suffer from forms of FRNS/SDNS which require continuous steroid treatment, and no previous useful and safe treatments were available, the development of this new treatment was much anticipated.

(Graduate School of Medicine, Office of Public Relations)