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Transplant Proc. 2009 Mar;41(2):463-5. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2009.01.027.

Composite tissue allotransplantation: past, present and future-the history and expanding applications of CTA as a new frontier in transplantation.

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Institute for Cellular Therapeutics, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.


Composite tissue allotransplantation (CTA) transplantation is currently being performed with increasing frequency in the clinic. The feasibility of the procedure has been confirmed in over 40 successful hand transplants, 3 facial reconstructions, and vascularized knee, esophageal, abdominal wall, and tracheal allografts. The toxicity of chronic, nonspecific immunosuppression remains a major limitation to the widespread availability of CTA and is associated with opportunistic infections, nephrotoxicity, end-organ damage, and an increased rate of malignancy. Methods to reduce or eliminate the requirement for immunosuppression would represent a significant step forward in the field. Mixed chimerism induces tolerance to solid organ and tissue allografts, including CTA. This overview focuses on the history and expanding applications of CTA as a new frontier in transplantation, and considers the important hurdles that must be overcome through research to allow widespread clinical application.

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