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Clin Dev Immunol. 2012;2012:438078. doi: 10.1155/2012/438078. Epub 2012 Oct 31.

The need for inducing tolerance in vascularized composite allotransplantation.

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Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center (DUMC) 3512, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Successful hand and face transplantation in the last decade has firmly established the field of vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA). The experience in VCA has thus far been very similar to solid organ transplantation in terms of the morbidity associated with long-term immunosuppression. The unique immunological features of VCA such as split tolerance and resistance to chronic rejection are being investigated. Simultaneously there has been laboratory work studying tolerogenic protocols in animal VCA models. In order to optimize VCA outcomes, translational studies are needed to develop less toxic immunosuppression and possibly achieve donor-specific tolerance. This article reviews the immunology, animal models, mixed chimerism & tolerance induction in VCA and the direction of future research to enable better understanding and wider application of VCA.

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