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New type of rejection blocker protects kidneys after transplant

ded anti-hypertensive medication compared to one-third of patients in the two belatacept groups.

Over the past 20 years, drugs like cyclosporine (a calcineurin inhibitor) and prednisone (a corticosteroid) have been highly successful in overcoming organ rejection. However, Vincenti said, advances have only been modest in terms of keeping the organ healthy over the course of years. Paradoxically, anti-rejection drugs like cyclosporine contribute to health problems including cardiovascular disease -- the leading cause of death among kidney transplant recipients.

"This trial indicates that belatacept should be able to protect transplanted organs from rejection without the toxicities associated with today's standard drugs," Vincenti said.

Since standard immunosuppressants damage the kidneys, the new class of drugs also promises to reduce the number of patients who need a re-transplant. "This is one of the exciting results of this study, considering that we have a critical shortage of organs for transplant," Vincenti said.

Kidney transplant is the preferred treatment for most people with end-stage kidney failure. The United Network for Organ Sharing reports that more than 16,000 Americans received a kidney transplant in 2004.


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Source:University of California - San Francisco


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