What Therapeutic Regimen Will Be Optimal for Initial Clinical Trials of Pig Organ Transplantation?

Academic Article


  • We discuss what therapeutic regimen might be acceptable/successful in the first clinical trial of genetically engineered pig kidney or heart transplantation. As regimens based on a calcineurin inhibitor or CTLA4-Ig have proved unsuccessful, the regimen we administer to baboons is based on induction therapy with antithymocyte globulin, an anti-CD20 mAb (Rituximab), and cobra venom factor, with maintenance therapy based on blockade of the CD40/CD154 costimulation pathway (with an anti-CD40 mAb), with rapamycin, and a corticosteroid. An anti-inflammatory agent (etanercept) is administered for the first 2 wk, and adjuvant therapy includes prophylaxis against thrombotic complications, anemia, cytomegalovirus, and pneumocystis. Using this regimen, although antibody-mediated rejection certainly can occur, we have documented no definite evidence of an adaptive immune response to the pig xenograft. This regimen could also form the basis for the first clinical trial, except that cobra venom factor will be replaced by a clinically approved agent, for example, a C1-esterase inhibitor. However, none of the agents that block the CD40/CD154 pathway are yet approved for clinical use, and so this hurdle remains to be overcome. The role of anti-inflammatory agents remains unproven. The major difference between this suggested regimen and those used in allotransplantation is the replacement of a calcineurin inhibitor with a costimulation blockade agent, but this does not appear to increase the complications of the regimen.
  • Published In

  • Transplantation  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bikhet M; Iwase H; Yamamoto T; Jagdale A; Foote JB; Ezzelarab M; Anderson DJ; Locke JE; Eckhoff DE; Hara H
  • Start Page

  • 1143
  • End Page

  • 1155
  • Volume

  • 105
  • Issue

  • 6