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New drug for kidney transplant recipients effective in humans
Date:2/17/2010

Initial results of a study conducted at 100 centers worldwide indicate that belatacept, a first-in-class costimulation blocker can prevent the immune system rejecting new organs. The results also suggest that it may provide similar patient and graft survival to cyclosporine but with fewer side effects and superior kidney function after 12 months. The study, published today in the American Journal of Transplantation, provides the first findings to come from BENEFIT (Belatacept Evaluation of Nephroprotection and Efficacy as First-line Immunosuppression Trial).

Although advances in transplantation have reduced rates of organ rejection and improved outcomes after one-year, corresponding improvements in long-term survival rates have not been observed. The kidney allograft (transplant from another human donor with different genes) survival rate is 95% for transplants from living donors and 89% for transplants from deceased donors during the first year. BENEFIT is a three-year, randomized, active-controlled, parallel-group, set up to evaluate the efficacy of belatacept for post-transplant maintenance immunosuppressive management.

"Our findings show that this will be a novel and more specific way of suppressing the immune system with less toxicity," said lead researcher Dr. Flavio Vincenti, of the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. "It will target the specific responses that cause rejection of transplanted organs with less damage to other systems of the body."

Belatacept is different from calcineurin inhibitors (CNI), such as cyclosporine, which is the class of drugs most commonly used to suppress the immune system in transplant patients, because it does not cause the toxicities associated with CNI such as nephrotoxicity and aggravating cardiovascular risk factors. Belatacept selectively blocks T-cell activation (which plays a key part in immune response) and the results suggest that this selectivity allows e
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Contact: Jennifer Beal
medicalnews@wiley.com
44-124-377-0633
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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