New developments in immunosuppressive therapy in renal transplantation

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2002 Jun;2(5):483-501. doi: 10.1517/14712598.2.5.483.


The introduction of new immunosuppressive agents and protocols has improved outcomes for renal transplant recipients by decreasing the risk of rejection and by increasing the function and lifespan of the allograft. This article reviews the major changes in the combinations of therapies used: calcineurin inhibitors, target of rapamycin inhibitors, mycophenolate mofetil, non-depleting monoclonal versus depleting monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies for induction and increasing emphasis on protocols for reduction or avoidance of steroids and calcineurin inhibitors. The new agents with novel immunological targets such as anti-CD40 ligand, LEA29Y, FTY720, anti-CD20 (rituximab, Rituxan, Mabthera) and anti-CH52 (alemtuzumab, Campath), which are under development but have yet to survive the rigors of clinical trials are also discussed. In the presence of low early rejection rates, immunosuppressive therapy is setting new goals such as better graft function (glomerular filtration rates), reduction in adverse effects such as hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and drug toxicity and, above all, the prevention of late graft deterioration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Polyomavirus / immunology
  • Sirolimus / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Antibodies
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Sirolimus