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Kidney transplant drug halves the early risk of rejection and allows less toxic treatment
Date:7/27/2014

Oxford University scientists have shown that a powerful drug given at the time of a kidney transplant operation not only halves the early risk of rejection, but that it also allows a less toxic regimen of anti-rejection drugs to be used after the operation.

The key results are reported in The Lancet and presented at the World Transplant Congress in San Francisco today. They will help doctors faced with a difficult transplant conundrum: the powerful combinations of treatments used to prevent early kidney rejection may cause kidney damage later and may subsequently be a cause of transplant failure.

One of the main culprits is a class of drugs known as calcineurin inhibitors. These drugs are very effective at preventing rejection in the first weeks and months after a transplant, but their lasting effects can have serious consequences for the kidney later on.

Kidney transplantation is still the best treatment for patients with kidney failure, but much more subtle approaches are needed if success rates are to be improved.

Around 15,000 people undergo transplant in the USA every year and 2,000 in the UK. Patients need to take drugs to suppress their immune system in order to reduce the chances that it will 'reject' the new kidney. It is a risky procedure since disabling the immune system in this way can lead to an increased number of infections and cancer.

The 3C study (Campath, Calcineurin inhibitor reduction and Chronic allograft nephropathy) tested whether alemtuzumab (Campath; an anti-rejection treatment) partnered with low dose tacrolimus (a calcineurin inhibitor) could reduce transplant rejection when compared with existing treatment.

The study recruited 852 patients who underwent kidney transplantation in the UK between 2010 and 2013.

'Our primary aim was to find out whether alemtuzumab-based induction therapy would produce worthwhile reductions in acute rejection,' explained Chief Investiga
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Contact: Andrew Trehearne
andrew.trehearne@ctsu.ox.ac.uk
44-018-657-43960
University of Oxford
Source:Eurekalert

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