The new therapy was found to reduce antibodies with greater success than with traditional methods in a clinical trial spanning over three years."This study is important because it has the potential to change the way we approach kidney transplantation," said the study's principal investigator, E Steve Woodle from University of Cincinnati.
Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins which, in most instances, are good because they help fight infection, but people can also make antibodies that work against other humans, which is often a major barrier to transplantation.
Since 2008, the researchers have been on forefront of developing therapies that target plasma cells-the cells that make antibodies. These new therapies used bortezomib, a drug already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of multiple myeloma, a type of cancer.
The traditional method for reducing antibody levels, Woodle said, uses a blood product termed intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG).In this first-of-its-kind trial, however, 50 kidney transplant candidates with high antibody levels were treated with the new regimen.
"The rejection rates were low and the chances of the patient developing a new antibody against their kidney were very low,'' Woodle said."This also may benefit 10 to 20 percent of heart and pancreas transplant candidates who often have such high levels of antibodies that transplantation is nearly impossible," Woodle said. The study appeared in the American Journal of Transplantation.