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Transplant Proc. 2004 Mar;36(2 Suppl):125S-129S.

Cyclosporine: 20 years of experience at the University of Munich.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Munich, Klinikum Grosshadern, Munich, Germany.


The history of solid organ transplantation is, from an immunotherapeutic standpoint, divided in the era before and after the introduction of cyclosporine to the clinic. The introduction of cyclosporine to the clinic in 1978 is looked upon as a turning point in transplantation. The immediate success of the new drug was based on the reduction of early graft rejection and the substantial improvement of 1-year graft survival. With growing experience in the use of this new compound, together with the ability to measure drug levels in serum, allograft rejection and organ survival could be improved even further. Because of the clinical results, cyclosporine became the gold standard in immunosuppressive therapy after organ transplantation. Even after 20 years, as more and more new immunosuppressants emerge, the clinical evaluation of a new drug is frequently compared versus a cyclosporine-based regimen. Today, cyclosporine is probably one of the best investigated drugs in the field of organ transplantation. Beside the undoubted benefits of cyclosporine, experimental and clinical studies have also revealed some unwanted effects, such as nephrotoxicity and an increased risk in development of malignant tumors. Here, we review the experience at our institution with transplant recipients receiving cyclosporine as the main immunosuppressant over the past 20 years.

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