Stem Cells Could Boost Kidney Transplant Success

A team of researchers from University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Xiamen University in China have shown that a combination of mesenchymal stem cell therapy and immune suppressing calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) produces better short-term transplant outcomes than standard anti-rejection drugs and CNIs. Patients who received a transplant from a living relative were treated with their own mesenchymal stem cells or MSCs, which act as natural immune cell suppressors. Six months after transplant, they experienced fewer acute rejections and better kidney function and had lower risk of infections. They also recovered faster from acute rejection. After one year, survival and rejection rates were comparable with patients who had received the standard induction therapy. Though the benefits of the stem cell therapy appear to have been short-lived, the researchers view the results as a step forward. Dr. Robert Provenzano, Chair of the Department of Nephrology, Hypertension, and Transplantation at St. John Providence Health System said, “I see this as the continued evolution of transplant medicine. It’s very exciting to be able to use your own natural cells instead of more toxic medications.”


Stem Cell Therapy Could Boost Kidney Transplant Success: Study, Health Day, March 20, 2012


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