A Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital patient is the first young person in the world to participate in a study researching a new drug to treat itching caused by kidney failure.
Dialysis is a treatment for kidney failure, when the kidneys are not working properly. A type of dialysis, called haemodialysis, involves using a machine with an ‘artificial kidney’. Blood is diverted from the body to the machine, where it is cleaned and returned to the body.
Many people receiving haemodialysis experience itchy skin This may be caused by a build-up of toxins in the body, but also impairments of the opioid receptor and immune system.
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the pharmacokinetics (how the medication is absorbed and removed by the body) of a single dose of the study drug. The research will also assess safety and tolerability (whether any side effects of the medication can be handled by patients).
The study drug is administered via a direct intravenous (IV) injection into the vein, through a cannula (a thin tube inserted into the vein).
Dr Amrit Kaur is a Consultant in Paediatric Nephrology at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital – part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) – and UK Chief Investigator of the KOR-PED study.
Dr Kaur said: “Itching is a common but unreported symptom in children receiving haemodialysis treatment, and we currently do not have an effective licenced treatment.”
“If children do tell us they’re experiencing itching, we can’t prescribe anything specific for it. But if we could find a reliable and effective drug, that would be a great step in the right direction in helping those affected.”
Study participant, Zeenat Abbas, is 15-years-old and lives in Nelson, Pendle, with her family, and is currently awaiting a kidney transplant.
Having had an eye condition from birth, Zeenat was recently diagnosed with Senior Løken syndrome, a rare inherited disorder characterised by progressive kidney and eye problems. She comes to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital three times a week to receive haemodialysis treatment, where she was approached by Senior Clinical Research Nurse, Helen Dalgleish, about taking part in this study.
Mum, Samina Abbas, said: “Helen came and told us about it and what it would involve, and Zeenat said she would like to take part. She just wanted to see if she could help in any way.
“She was excited to take part, it’s been a good experience for her.”