Friday 16 July 2021

Increasing the life of cats from 15 to 30 years - a cure for feline kidney disease

Professor Miyazaki believes that he might be able to double the expected lifespan of domestic cats to 30 years using a treatment he is working on.

Toru Miyazaki, 59, professor at the Graduate School of Medicine of the University of Tokyo
Toru Miyazaki, 59, professor at the Graduate School of Medicine of the University of Tokyo. Picture: the University.

His extensive research found a new protein in the blood of humans and animals. He calls it AIM which stands for "apoptosis inhibitor of macrophage". Yes, I know that doesn't help!

He says that feline kidney disease is caused by dead cells piling up in the urinary tract which blocks the passageway like a clogged drain. This leads to kidney damage.

He says that AIM acts as an agent to unclog the pipes. AIM "goes to the problem area through the blood and flags exactly where the waste is. AIM itself does not dissolve the problem cells; rather other cells like macrophages come along to eat them". Macrophages are cells which destroy harmful organisms. They are also described as a "type of white blood cell that eats and digests foreign material inside the body."

He wants to administer AIM to cats via a vaccine as a preventative medicine and perhaps in other ways (orally or in a capsule?). He's started clinical trials in 2020 (reported). He wants the treatment to become a commodity i.e. a useable product by 2022.

My cat died on CKD. Photo: MikeB

He's excited by the possibility of AIM extending the lives of cats dramatically. He's correct in saying that feline kidney disease is a mass killer, shortening the lives of domestic cats in huge numbers.

His work is reactive essentially. I hope that he is successful but what about researching the reason why feline kidney disease is so disastrously prevalent in the domestic cat population? Is it the food? It might be. Why do domestic cats die of kidney far more often than humans? We need to address that question with more vigour.

No one comes up with a satisfactory answer as to why domestic cats are so predisposed to kidney disease. The situation indicates an underlying but as yet unknown environmental reason. My best bet is the commercial foods that we feed them. It might be the dry foods which have gained in popularity tremendously over the past decades.

CKD affects 8+ percent of cats of 10 years old and older. One well-known vet, Dr Elizabeth Hodgkins believes that dry cat foods are the culprit and feeding high quality wet foods can help dramatically plus a powdered phosphorus binder. One cat, Georgia, did very well on "fluids, a phosphate binder and a commercial high-protein diet. Read her book Your Cat to find out more.

Cat owners should also wish the best of luck to the professor in his quest to increase the life of domestic cats from 15 to 30 years.

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