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Review
. 2017 May 4;36(3):182-203.
doi: 10.1080/08830185.2016.1225300. Epub 2016 Sep 28.

Renal Transplant Immunology in the Last 20 Years: A Revolution Towards Graft and Patient Survival Improvement

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Review

Renal Transplant Immunology in the Last 20 Years: A Revolution Towards Graft and Patient Survival Improvement

Helena Sá et al. Int Rev Immunol. .

Abstract

To deride the hope of progress is the ultimate fatuity, the last word in poverty of spirit and meanness of mind. There is no need to be dismayed by the fact that we cannot yet envisage a definitive solution of our problems, a resting-place beyond which we need not try to go. -P.B. Medawar, 1969 * Thomas E. Starlz, also known as the Father of Clinical Transplantation, once said that organ transplantation was the supreme exception to the rule that most major advances in medicine spring from discoveries in basic science [Starzl T. The mystique of organ transplantation. J Am Coll Surg 2005 Aug;201(2):160-170]. In fact, the first successful identical-twin kidney transplantation performed by Murray's team in December 1954 (Murray J et al. Renal homotransplantations in identical twins. Surg Forum 1955;6:432-436) was the example of an upside down translation medicine: Human clinical transplantation began and researchers tried to understand the underlying immune response and how to control the powerful rejection pathways through experimental models. In the last 20 years, we have witnessed an amazing progress in the knowledge of immunological mechanisms regarding alloimmune response and an outstanding evolution on the identification and characterization of major and minor histocompatibility antigens. This review presents an historical and clinical perspective of those important advances in kidney transplantation immunology in the last 20 years, which contributed to the improvement in patients' quality of life and the survival of end-stage renal patients. In spite of these significant progresses, some areas still need substantial progress, such as the definition of non-invasive biomarkers for acute rejection; the continuous reduction of immunosuppression; the extension of graft survival, and finally the achievement of real graft tolerance extended to HLA mismatch donor: recipient pairs.

Keywords: Alloimmune response; HLA antigens; immunosupp-ression; kidney transplantation; tolerance.

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