Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

More cost-effective immune suppressant for transplants

Date:
May 19, 2011
Source:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Summary:
A less expensive alternative is just as safe and effective as common, costly immune suppressants for transplants, according to a new study.

In the first head-to-head comparison of the three most common drugs used at the time of a kidney transplant to prevent organ rejection, researchers found that the least expensive drug -- at one-half to one-fifth the price -- is as safe and effective as the other two, according to a paper published by University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers in the May 19, 2011, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Based at UAB, researchers in the INTAC trial spent three years following 474 patients who had undergone kidney transplants at 30 U.S. transplant centers. They compared the drugs basiliximab, antithymocyte globulin and alemtuzumab to definitively answer which of the three would be the most appropriate to prescribe to prevent rejection during the first six to 12 months following transplant surgery, when rejection is most likely.

"These are intravenous drugs given at the time of transplant in the operating room or early in the first week after transplant and are intensive immunosuppressants, designed to prevent early rejection," said the study's lead author, Michael Hanaway, M.D., surgeon in the Division of Abdominal Transplantation at UAB. With more than 260 transplants annually, the UAB kidney transplant program is among the busiest in the country.

The researchers found that alemtuzumab -- a drug originally approved for lymphoma treatment, which costs around $2,000 -- worked better than or as well as either basiliximab or antithymocyte globulin, which cost about $4,000 and $10,000, respectively.

"Alemtuzumab has been around for nearly 10 years but has only been studied in single-center settings with mixed results. Its safety and efficacy have never been totally clear. We have now answered a very important question for the transplant community," Hanaway said.

The use of these intensive immunosuppressants is known as induction therapy. In this process, transplant recipients are given antibody preparations to jump start the process of immunosuppression and reduce the risk of organ rejection. Patients receive these drugs in coordination with other standard post-transplant medications.

The researchers spent three years following 474 patients who had undergone kidney transplants at 30 U.S. transplant centers. Patients enrolled in the trial were first classified as being at a low or high risk of transplant rejection -- high-risk patients included more African-Americans and patients already sensitized to transplantation from a previous transplant. Low-risk patients were randomly assigned to receive either basiliximab or alemtuzumab. High-risk patients were randomized into receiving antithymocyte globulin or alemtuzumab. Researchers then compared the efficacy and safety of basiliximab and antithymocyte globulin with that of alemtuzumab.

"We found there was less rejection in the low-risk patients when using alemtuzumab and about the same amount of rejection in high-risk patients," Hanaway said. "What makes alemtuzumab different is the cost. Now that we know there is not any more rejection or infections with alemtuzumab, it makes sense to go with the one that is cheaper and just as effective."

Hanaway added that while there are limitations to the study and future studies are needed to address these limitations, UAB transplant surgeons began using alemtuzumab three years ago based on early results from this study.

"No medication is perfect, but we believe this is as safe and effective in patients," Hanaway said.

The study was funded by Astellas Pharma Global Development group, a company that manufactures an oral immunosupressant drug not used in this study. Co-authors on the paper are E. Steve Woodle, M.D., University of Cincinnati College Of Medicine; Shamkant Mulgaonkar, M.D., Saint Barnabas Health Care System in West Orange, NJ; V. Ram Peddi, M.D., California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco; Dixon B. Kaufman, M.D., University of Wisconsin School of Medicine; and M. Roy First, M.D., Richard Croy, Ph.D., and John Holman, M.D., Astellas Pharma.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael J. Hanaway, E. Steve Woodle, Shamkant Mulgaonkar, V. Ram Peddi, Dixon B. Kaufman, M. Roy First, Richard Croy, John Holman. Alemtuzumab Induction in Renal Transplantation. New England Journal of Medicine, 2011; 364 (20): 1909 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1009546

Cite This Page:

University of Alabama at Birmingham. "More cost-effective immune suppressant for transplants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110519091641.htm>.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2011, May 19). More cost-effective immune suppressant for transplants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110519091641.htm
University of Alabama at Birmingham. "More cost-effective immune suppressant for transplants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110519091641.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) A healthy British volunteer is to become the first person to receive a new vaccine for the Ebola virus after US President Barack Obama called for action against the epidemic and warned it was "spiralling out of control." Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Researchers are puzzled as to why obesity rates remain relatively stable as average waistlines continue to expand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins