Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) is a form of glomerulonephritis. Also known as Berger’s disease, it is the most common type of primary glomerulonephritis worldwide and is characterised by IgA deposits in the glomerulus. IgA nephropathy expert Prof. Yusuke Suzuki, who is based at Jutendo University Faculty of Medicine in Japan, explains that studies suggest that a number of factors, including aberrently-glycosylated IgA1, or its immune complex with glycan-specific IgG and IgA may play key roles in the pathogenesis of the condition. ‘A proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) is one of protein froms the tumour necrosis factor (TNF) ligand superfamily. Research suggests a key role for this ligand in the long-term survival of plasma cells in the bone marrow and lymphoid tissues including mucosae and it is being explored as a potential target for the development of therapeutic options for autoimmune diseases and B cell malignancies. ‘Recent studies into the pathological role of APRIL in IgAN, including our own recent findings, have led us to consider a new therapeutic approach,’ he outlines. ‘Our data using human samples from patients with IgAN and targeting APRIL in animal models has provided proof of concept (POC) of the beneficial effects of neutralising APRIL in IgAN.’ Based on this work, clinical trials of new drugs that target APRIL have so far demonstrated exciting possibilities as one of the most promising new treatments for IgAN. A number of pharmaceutical companies are currently working on this and other, related drugs to treat the condition.