Novel Renal Autologous Cell Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Chronic Diabetic Kidney Disease: Clinical Trial Design

Am J Nephrol. 2022;53(1):50-58. doi: 10.1159/000520231. Epub 2022 Jan 14.


Background: Cell therapies explore unmet clinical needs of patients with chronic kidney disease with the potential to alter the pathway toward end-stage kidney disease. We describe the design and baseline patient characteristics of a phase II multicenter clinical trial utilizing the novel renal autologous cell therapy (REACT), by direct kidney parenchymal injection via the percutaneous approach in adults with type 2 diabetic kidney disease (T2DKD), to delay or potentially avoid renal replacement therapy.

Design: The study conducted a prospective, multicenter, randomized control, open-label, phase II clinical trial between an active treatment group (ATG) receiving REACT from the beginning of the trial and a contemporaneous deferred treatment group (DTG) receiving standard of care for 12 months before crossing over to receive REACT.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to establish the safety and efficacy of 2 REACT injections with computed tomography guidance, into the renal cortex of patients with T2DKD administered 6 months apart, and to compare the longitudinal change in renal function between the ATG and the DTG.

Setting: This was a multicenter study conducted in major US hospitals.

Patients: We enrolled eighty-three adult patients with T2DKD, who have estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFRs) between 20 and 50 mL/min/1.73 m2.

Methods: All patients undergo an image-guided percutaneous kidney biopsy to obtain epithelial phenotype selective renal cells isolated from the kidney tissue that is then expanded ex vivo over 4-6 weeks, resulting in the REACT biologic product. Patients are randomized 1:1 into the ATG or the DTG. Primary efficacy endpoints for both study groups include eGFR measurements at baseline and at 3-month intervals, through 24 months after the last REACT injection. Safety analyses include biopsy-related complications, REACT injection, and cellular-related adverse events. The study utilizes Good Clinical and Manufacturing Practices and a Data and Safety Monitoring Board. The sample size confers a statistical power of 80% to detect an eGFR change in the ATG compared to the DTG at 24 months with an α = 0.05.

Limitations: Blinding cannot occur due to the intent to treat procedure, biopsy in both groups, and open trial design.

Conclusion: This multicenter phase II randomized clinical trial is designed to determine the efficacy and safety of REACT in improving or stabilizing renal function among patients with T2DKD stages 3a-4.

Trial registration: NCT02836574.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Diabetes-associated chronic kidney disease; Diabetic nephropathy; Neo-kidney augment; Renal autologous cell therapy; Renal outcomes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / therapy
  • Diabetic Nephropathies* / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / complications
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data