24 July 2006, Basel, Switzerland -- The largest ever comparative transplantation study, involving 1,645 kidney transplant patients, has revealed the best immunosuppressant drug regimen that will give patients a better chance of a normal life. CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) plus low-dose tacrolimus, corticosteroids and IL-2 induction therapy was shown to be the top combination to prevent patients rejecting their new kidney whilst maximising the function and life of the new organ.
The results at 12 months showed significantly improved kidney function (15%, p<0.0001), up to a further 65% reduction in early rejection and up to 6% improvement in organ survival for patients receiving the CellCept plus low-dose tacrolimus combination. This could mean that, if all first time kidney recipients were to take this regimen, nearly 2,500* organs could be saved in the first year post transplant.
"The results of the SYMPHONY study are an exciting and long-awaited development for both patients and doctors," commented lead investigator, Professor Henrik Ekberg, from University Hospital, Malm, Sweden, following the study's presentation at the World Transplant Congress, Boston. "New immunosuppressant drugs have successfully reduced the rejection rates of the new organ. However, patients still face developing serious side effects from the life long use of some of these drugs. The focus is now to define the optimal balance of these combinations in order to prolong further the life of the patient and their transplanted organ. SYMPHONY now provides the answer for doctors that the best regimen for patients today is CellCept and low dose tacrolimus, steroids and induction therapy."
To prevent rejection of a new kidney by the patient's immune system, immunosuppressant combinations have traditionally contained high dose calcineurin inhibitor's (CNIs), which are now known to cause kidney damage due to toxic side effects. This damage can lead to loss of the n
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