Early Clinical Experience With a Novel Rapamycin Derivative

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Summary:SDZ RAD (everolimus, Certican) is a novel macrolide immunosuppressant that blocks growth factor-driven transduction signals in the T-cell response to alloantigen. After stimulation of the IL-2 receptor on the activated T-cell, SDZ RAD inhibits p70S6 kinase, acting at a later stage in the T-cell mediated response than do cyclosporine and other calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs). Unlike the CNIs, SDZ RAD is a proliferation signal inhibitor, blocking growth factor-driven proliferation of both hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cells. These activities are complementary to those of cyclosporine and provide a rationale for the addition of SDZ RAD to cyclosporine-based immunosuppression, with the potential for minimizing CNI nephrotoxicity, reducing the incidence of acute rejection, and favoring long-term graft survival. Potential also exists for beneficial effects on other factors that may influence the development of chronic rejection. These factors include comorbid diseases such as hypertension, which may affect transplant vasculopathy, and opportunistic infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) and other viruses, which may increase the risk of chronic rejection. The synergistic effect of SDZ RAD and cyclosporine has been confirmed in preclinical models, with graft survival being significantly prolonged in rat models of kidney and heart allotransplantation. Clinical experience with SDZ RAD in cyclosporine-based immunosuppression, including low-dose cyclosporine regimens, has also resulted in predictable and favorable clinical outcomes. Low rates of acute rejection, excellent rates of patient and graft survival, lower incidence of CMV infections, better cholesterol, triglyceride and creatinine profiles, and better renal function have been demonstrated with SDZ RAD and lower doses of cyclosporine (Neoral; Novartis Pharmaceuticals, East Hanover, NJ) in recipients of renal transplants. These findings, combined with good tolerability rates and an acceptable side-effect profile, indicate that the synergistic profile of SDZ RAD in combination with nontoxic dosages of CNI's and IL2 inhibitors will further improve longterm results in renal transplantation.

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