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Diseases » Transplants » Research
 

Cure Research for Transplants

Treatments for Transplants

Treatments to consider for Transplants may include:

Cure Research discussion for Transplants:

Stories of Discovery Immune Tolerance Improving Transplantation Success: NIAID (Excerpt)

In the past few decades, transplantation research has focused on identifying and understanding the mechanisms of transplant rejection so that it can be prevented and survival can be prolonged. Among the most important advances has been the development of drugs that help prevent transplant rejection by suppressing the patient’s immune system. NIAID-supported research led to the discovery and licensing in 1983 of cyclosporine, the first immunosuppressive drug for transplant patients. Cyclosporine and other immunosuppressive drugs have greatly increased the short-term success rate, particularly of kidney and other solid organ transplants. Unfortunately, these drugs are highly toxic and require adherence to a lifelong regimen that suppresses the entire immune system, thereby increasing the susceptibility of patients for developing infections, cancer, and other complications. Moreover, immunosuppressive drugs have not had a significant effect on increasing long-term transplant survival. More than half of transplanted kidneys, the organ most often transplanted, are rejected within 10 years, and the patient must receive another kidney transplant or start dialysis treatments, which are uncomfortable, expensive, and time-consuming. (Source: excerpt from Stories of Discovery Immune Tolerance Improving Transplantation Success: NIAID)

Stories of Discovery Immune Tolerance Improving Transplantation Success: NIAID (Excerpt)

In 1991, NIAID-supported basic researchers identified a molecule (called CD28) on the surface of certain immune system cells that was involved in the immune response to transplanted tissues or organs. During the following 4 years, scientists demonstrated that blocking the activity of CD28 inhibited immune system responses crucial to transplant rejection. In 1994, researchers identified CD40 as another cell surface molecule involved in the immune system response to transplants. A strategy emerged for inducing transplant tolerance by blocking the signals that these “costimulatory” molecules deliver to initiate an attack on a foreign tissue or organ. (Source: excerpt from Stories of Discovery Immune Tolerance Improving Transplantation Success: NIAID)

Stories of Discovery Immune Tolerance Improving Transplantation Success: NIAID (Excerpt)

Building on the discovery of these and other costimulatory molecules, NIAID-supported scientists developed animal models to determine whether blocking the activation of CD28 and CD40 signals can prevent transplant rejection in vivo (in the living body of an animal). In 1996, researchers sponsored by NIAID succeeded in prolonging the survival of skin and heart transplants in mice using this strategy, without the need for standard continuous therapy that globally suppresses the immune system. The following year, investigators at the Department of Defense used the same approach to achieving tolerance to kidney transplants in monkeys, a model that closely resembles human transplantation. While this approach to controlling the immune system prevents rejection, it leaves intact the ability to fight infections and is much less toxic than conventional immunosuppressive therapy. Blocking immune cell signals has the potential for addressing other problems faced by transplant patients. For example, in 1998, NIAID-supported scientists found that a costimulation blockade prevented graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in patients who received bone-marrow transplants. GVHD occurs when transplanted immune cells attack the healthy cells of the recipient, causing life-threatening illness. (Source: excerpt from Stories of Discovery Immune Tolerance Improving Transplantation Success: NIAID)

 

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