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Researchers Identify Potential Drug Therapy For Kidney Stones

Update Date: Aug 14, 2014 11:12 AM EDT

A class of drugs approved to treat leukemia and epilepsy also may be affective against kidney stones, suggests a new mouse study. 

The drugs are called  histone deacetylase inhibitors, or HDAC inhibitors. Researchers found that two of them Vorinostat and trichostatin A, lower levels of calcium and magnesium in the urine, key components of kidney stones. 

"We're hopeful this class of drugs can dissolve kidney stones because its effects on reducing calcium and magnesium are exclusive to kidney cells," said senior author Jianghui Hou, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, in the press release. "In the mice, we achieved dramatic effects at a fraction of the dosage used to treat leukemia and without significant side effects."

In most of the cases, kidney stones form when the urine becomes too concentrated, allowing calcium and magnesium to crystalize and stick together. The formation of stones lead to intense pain. 

Researchers warned that diet also may play a role in the condition. Not drinking enough water or eating a diet with too much salt can promote calcium to be released into the urine, increasing the risk of stones. 

"Kidney cells were very sensitive to the drug," Hou explained. "We used one-twentieth of the dose typically used in humans and achieved significant results. We now want to test the drug in clinical trials for patients with kidney stones."

The study is available online in the journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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