Alemtuzumab (Campath 1H) Induction With Tacrolimus Monotherapy Is Safe for High Immunological Risk Renal Transplantation

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Immunosuppression for immunologically high-risk renal transplant patients usually involves antithymocyte globulin induction with triple drug maintenance therapy. Alemtuzumab, a humanized anti-CD52 antibody, has shown promise in tolerogenic induction protocols, requiring minimal maintenance immunosuppression. In this prospective, open-label, randomized, controlled trial, we enrolled 21 high immunological risk patients (i.e., panel reactive antibody >20% or previous transplant). Patients received either single-dose alemtuzumab given before graft reperfusion, with tacrolimus monotherapy, or four doses of Thymoglobulin® with tacrolimus, mycophenolate, and steroids. Median follow-up was 377 days. One patient in the Thymoglobulin group who suffered primary graft nonfunction died. One-year cumulative graft survival was 85.7% for the alemtuzumab group and 87.5% for the Thymoglobulin group. Two alemtuzumab and three Thymoglobulin patients suffered rejection episodes. Infection rates were similar. Early results of this ongoing study indicate that a tolerogenic protocol with alemtuzumab induction and tacrolimus maintenance monotherapy is safe in immunologically high-risk renal transplant patients.

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