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Surgery

Antibodies Halve Transplant Rejection Risk

15 years, 5 months ago

894  0
Posted on May 16, 2003, 11 a.m. By Bill Freeman

UK scientists have found that it is possible to halve the risk that a transplant patient will reject their new organ by treating them with antibodies. The common method of reducing the risk of transplant rejection is to give the patient immunosuppressant drugs to dampen the immune response. However, this is not an ideal situation as such drugs raise the risk of infection and even cancer, thus scientists have long been looking for an alternative way of reducing rejection risk.

UK scientists have found that it is possible to halve the risk that a transplant patient will reject their new organ by treating them with antibodies. The common method of reducing the risk of transplant rejection is to give the patient immunosuppressant drugs to dampen the immune response. However, this is not an ideal situation as such drugs raise the risk of infection and even cancer, thus scientists have long been looking for an alternative way of reducing rejection risk. The researchers reviewed eight clinical trials involving 1,858 kidney transplant recipients, half of whom were treated with antibodies while the other half received an inactive placebo. Results showed that treatment with antibodies reduced the risk of acute rejection by 49% after six months, and that those treated were not more susceptible to infection. The antibodies work by binding to a receptor known as interleukin-2, which normally trigger the activation of immune cells called T lymphocytes that attack the transplanted kidney tissue. However, when the antibodies bind to the interleukin-2 receptor it can no longer activate the cells.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: BMJ 2003;326:789.

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