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Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. As high blood sugar levels result in damage to blood vessels, patients with diabetes often suffer from complications.

This European research project aims at the early identification of patients at risk for developing diabetic nephropathy, one of the major complications. Patients being classified as high risk will be randomised to preventive therapy with an aldosterone receptor antagonist in order to prevent or delay diabetic nephropathy from occurring.

Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a chronic kidney disease that develops several years after onset of diabetes. DN is characterized by a slow, progressive loss of renal function, with a loss of glomerular filtration over a period of months or years that eventually leads to end-stage renal disease requiring renal replacement therapy (dialysis or kidney transplantation).

DN is generally detected by measurements of albumin in urine or changes in serum creatinine concentration in blood. However, these methods are late manifestations of renal damage.

In two independent studies we have recently demonstrated that the DiaPat®-DN test based on urinary proteome analysis (UPA) offers the prospect of detecting nephropathy earlier in the preclinical phase, enabling targeted treatment at an earlier stage.

Once being diagnosed with diabetic nephropathy, regression of disease is very difficult to achieve. Recent trials in diabetes patients showed that early intervention is more effective with the same drug compared to late intervention.