Despite substantial improvements in early survival after lung transplantation, refractory acute rejection (RAR) and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) remain major contributors to transplant-related morbidity and mortality. We have utilized alemtuzumab, a humanized anti-CD52 antibody which results in potent lymphocyte depletion, in consecutive patients with RAR (n = 12) or BOS (n = 10). All patients failed conventional treatment with methylprednisolone and antithymocyte globulin and received strict infection prophylaxis. Alemtuzumab significantly improved histological rejection scores in RAR. Total rejection grade/biopsy was 1.98 +/- 0.25 preceding alemtuzumab versus 0.33 +/- 0.14 posttreatment, p-value <0.0001 (with a similar number of biopsies/patient per respective time interval). Freedom from BOS was observed in 65% of RAR patients 2 years after alemtuzumab treatment. Although there was no statistically significant change in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) before and after alemtuzumab treatment in patients with BOS, a stabilization or improvement in BOS grade occurred in 70% of patients. Patient survival 2 years after alemtuzumab for BOS was 69%. Despite a dramatic decline in CD4 counts in alemtuzumab-treated patients, only one patient developed a lethal infection. Thus, we provide the first evidence that alemtuzumab is a potentially useful therapy in lung transplant recipients with RAR or BOS.