(KUTV) A first of its kind treatment is offering kidney failure patients with a rare disorder new hope. Mary Nickles introduces us to a Utah man who, at Intermountain Medical Center Transplant Program, was the first in the world to use this treatment to fight this disorder.
In 2014, Larry Lew and his wife were on an LDS mission in Sydney, Australia when his health took a turn.
“I got sick. I went to the emergency room and they found out my kidneys were not functioning at all,” says Larry.
After a year and a half on dialysis, Larry received a kidney transplant from his brother. At first, everything seemed great.
“All of my labs were fairly normal for somebody that had just received a transplant,” recalls Larry.
But then, six months into his transplant his new kidney begun failing the same way his other two did. Kidney function was worsening and he had protein in his urine. A kidney biopsy revealed Larry had a rare disorder.
“We have this condition called Monclonal Gammopathy of Renal Significance,” says Dr. Sanjiv Anand with the Intermountain Medical Center Transplant Program.
Known as MGRS, this disorder means plasma cell clones were in Larry’s bone marrow. These clones produce proteins that attack the kidneys.
This is when they began trying conventional therapies. However, nothing was working. Then Larry tried a drug that’s typically used to treat a different disease called Multiple Myeloma.
“With seven doses his protein in the urine almost came close to zero from 10 grams, and his kidney function has dramatically improved,” says Dr. Anand.
Seven months later, Larry says he is feeling great. Dr. Anand says this this treatment has minimal side effects and is expected to be a game changer for future MGRS patients.
“This if the first time anywhere in the world that this treatment has been tried to treat this particular disorder,” says Dr. Anand.