Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Post-transplant combo can replace toxic immune-suppressing drugs in monkeys

10.07.2009
Transplant patients rely on drugs to prevent graft rejection, but at the cost of serious side effects. The class of immunosuppressive drugs known as calcineurin inhibitors (examples are cyclosporine and tacrolimus) can damage patients' kidneys and lead to high blood pressure, among other problems.

A combination of treatments can effectively replace calcineurin inhibitors in preventing graft rejection when kidney transplants are performed on monkeys, scientists at the Emory Transplant Center have shown. The non-human primate research was conducted at the National Institutes of Health and Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University.

The results are published in the July issue of Nature Medicine.

The finding opens the door to less-toxic post-transplant treatment that could be administered once a week rather than a dizzying mound of pills every day, says senior author Allan Kirk, MD, PhD, scientific director of the Emory Transplant Center and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar.

"Both of the drugs used in this regimen are already used separately in humans, thus a clinical trial could be developed quickly," Kirk notes.

One key ingredient in the combination is an experimental therapy called a costimulation blocker, designed to interfere with the T cells that cause graft rejection without affecting other organs. Costimulation refers to one of two signals T cells need from other cells (antigen presenting cells) to become fully activated.

The other key ingredient -- a protein called alefacept -- subdues memory T cells, a variety of T cells that allow the immune system to respond faster and stronger to an infectious agent or vaccine upon second exposure.

Costimulation blockers are sufficient for allowing mice to tolerate a transplanted kidney, but not monkeys or people, Kirk says. Memory cells appear to prevent costimulation blockers from working as well in monkeys as they do in mice.

"One of the big differences we've found between mice and both monkeys and people is that we primates have more exposure to infections that require us to develop immunological memory," he says. "Memory cells are quicker to become activated and don't need costimulation as much, so blocking costimulation doesn't slow them down."

By themselves, neither costimulation blockers (in this case, a molecule called CTLA4-Ig) or alefacept could prevent rejection in monkeys after the eight week treatment period, Kirk and his colleagues found. They had more success by combining costimulation blockers, alefacept and the transplant drug sirolimus. Under this regimen, monkeys could last for months after treatment ended without developing rejection or self-reactive antibodies.

CTLA4-Ig mimics a molecule found on T cells (CTLA4) and acts as a decoy. CTLA4-Ig is now used as an FDA-approved therapy for rheumatoid arthritis.

A similar drug called belatacept is now in phase III kidney transplant clinical trials, but current studies use it in combination with conventional immunosuppressive drugs.

Alefacept targets memory T cells via a molecule on their surfaces called CD2, the authors found. Alefacept was approved by the FDA for treatment of psoriasis in 2003. It is also being tested in a kidney transplant clinical trial in combination with conventional drugs.

Both CTLA4-Ig and alefacept are proteins and must be administered intravenously or possibly subcutaneously. However, their stability means they don't need to be taken every day – once a week is enough, Kirk says.

The paper's first author is Tim A. Weaver, and other co-authors are Ali H. Charafeddine, Avinash Agarwal, Alexandra P. Turner, Maria Russel, Frank V. Leopardi, Robert L. Kampen, Linda Stempora, Mingging Song and Christian P. Larsen.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Reference: T.A. Weaver et al. Alefacept promotes costimulation blockade-based allograft survival in primates. Nature Medicine. 15, 746-749 (2009)

The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include the Emory University School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Rollins School of Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. Emory Healthcare includes: The Emory Clinic, Emory-Children's Center, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Wesley Woods Center, Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital, the jointly owned Emory-Adventist Hospital, and EHCA, a limited liability company created with Hospital Corporation of America. EHCA includes two joint venture hospitals, Emory Eastside Medical Center and Emory Johns Creek Hospital. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 18,000 employees, 2,500 full-time and 1,500 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $5.5 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Holly Korschun | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.emory.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>