Because the immune systems of "highly sensitized" individuals initiate a rejection response against the tissue of the majority of the population, these patients typically spend the rest of their lives undergoing kidney dialysis several times a week a painful, costly process that extends life but usually results in a diminishing quality of life.
Now, a 12-center study, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and reported in the December 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, found that an immune-modulating therapy pioneered for transplant patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center reduced high antibody levels and improved transplantation rates. The analysis was based on the experiences of 98 highly sensitized patients who were administered either the medication, called intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), or a placebo while awaiting transplantation.
"The study showed that there was a significant benefit of IVIG over placebo. In fact, the rates of transplantation for the IVIG group were more than double that for the placebo group. And for patients who had had a previous transplant which is a very big risk factor for not being able to have another one the IVIG group's transplant rate was triple that of patients on placebo," said Stanley C. Jordan, MD, director of Pediatric Nephrology & Transplant Immunology and medical director of the Renal Transplant Program at Cedars-Sinai.
"Most other anti-rejection drugs can make the patient more susceptible to infectious complications because they are globally immunosuppressive," said Dr. Jordan, the study's principal i
Contact: Sandra Van
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center