Kidney transplants are the most common organ transplant procedure in the U.S., with 25,000 taking place in 2022. But for patients who receive new kidneys, the transplant is often followed by severe lifelong challenges, many of which are linked to the immunosuppression drug regimen required after surgery to ensure the body does not reject the new organ. These treatments have side effects and toxicities that impact patients’ long-term health, and even survival, leading to a transplant failure rate of 30-50% at the 10-year mark.
Now a new trial sponsored by Medeor Therapeutics, the results of which were presented Thursday at the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Kidney Week 2023 Annual Meeting, offers hope that stem cell therapy may help patients discontinue their immunosuppressant regime within a year of the transplant.
“The ability to get a transplant without being on lifelong immunosuppression is kind of a dream in transplant, so I can see why this would generate a lot of excitement,” said Sommer Gentry, a professor of surgery at New York University, who was not involved in the study and was not at the actual presentation, but reviewed the trial’s presentation slides.