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Am J Transplant. 2011 May;11(5):947-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03509.x.

CD40-specific costimulation blockade enhances neonatal porcine islet survival in nonhuman primates.

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  • 1Emory Transplant Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.


The widespread clinical implementation of alloislet transplantation as therapy for type 1 diabetes has been hindered by the lack of suitable islet donors. Pig-to-human islet xenotransplantation is one strategy with potential to alleviate this shortage. Long-term survival of porcine islets has been achieved using CD154-specific antibodies to interrupt the CD40/CD154 costimulation pathway; however, CD154-specific antibodies seem unlikely candidates for clinical translation. An alternative strategy for CD40/CD154 pathway interruption is use of CD40-specific antibodies. Herein, we evaluate the ability of a chimeric CD40-specific monoclonal antibody (Chi220) to protect islet xenografts. Neonatal porcine islets (~50,000 IEQ/kg) were transplanted intraportally into pancreatectomized diabetic macaques. Immunosuppression consisted of induction therapy with Chi220 and the IL-2 receptor-specific antibody basiliximab, and maintenance therapy with sirolimus and the B7-specific fusion protein belatacept. Chi220 effectively promoted xenoislet engraftment and survival, with five of six treated recipients achieving insulin-independent normoglycemia (median rejection-free survival 59 days; mean 90.8 days, maximum 203 days). No thromboembolic phenomena were observed. CD40 represents a promising alternative to CD154 as a therapeutic target, and the efficacy of CD40-specific antibodies in islet xenotransplantation warrants further investigation.

©2011 The Authors Journal compilation©2011 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.

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