Advances in systemic immunosuppressive therapy for solid organ transplantation have done little to decrease the percentage of allografts that eventually will develop chronic rejection. However, one of the promises of modern molecular biology includes the ability to introduce new genetic information into mammalian hosts. The ability to deliver genes and control their expression in the adult kidney has been described in appropriate animal models. Consequently, gene transfer technology represents a realistic therapeutic approach to modify the allogeneic kidney before engraftment in an effort to decrease the incidence of posttransplant dysfunction. To bridge the gap between animal studies and the clinical application of this technology, we report the first genetic transfection of isolated human kidneys under conditions of organ preservation. Polymerase chain reaction, reversed transcription polymerase chain reaction, and in situ hybridization techniques demonstrated that an adenovirus-polylysine-deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) complex can be used to insert a complementary DNA expression vector encoding beta-galactosidase into the intact human kidney. Immunohistochemical and in situ enzymatic analyses determined further that gene delivery and expression were localized in proximal tubular epithelial cells. Consequently, targeting of genes to perturb mediators of the local inflammatory response may represent a rational therapeutic interventional strategy in chronic rejection of the kidney.