Delayed graft function (DGF) is a complication that can occur in a patient immediately after they have a kidney transplant, particularly if the organ donor was deceased. If a patient develops DGF they will need to continue to have dialysis and will need to stay in hospital for longer. It is estimated that around 50% of patients receiving this type of transplant will develop DGF.
Immediately after a kidney transplant operation, the body produces a substance called hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) which helps to repair the damage to tissue and blood vessels. However, HGF does not stay in the body for very long, and so its ability to help the body heal is limited.
Refanalin is being developed for kidney transplant patients at high risk of DGF. It acts in the same way as HGF, helping the body to repair tissue and get rid of products that can build up when the body is damaged. HGF also helps the kidneys to start producing urine. The drug is administered in an intravenous infusion within 24 hours from transplant and for the following three days. Reduced risks of developing DGF may also mean that poorer-quality donor kidneys could be used in transplant operations.