mTOR Inhibition and Clinical Transplantation: Pancreas and Islet

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This brief overview discusses the beneficial and deleterious effects of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors on β cells, and how sirolimus- and everolimus-based immunosuppression have impacted on practices and outcomes of pancreas and islet transplantation. Sirolimus was the cornerstone of immunosuppressive regimens in islet transplantation at the turn of the millenium, but utilization of mTOR inhibitors has progressively decreased from greater than 80% to less than 50% of islet transplant recipients in more recent years. For whole pancreas transplantation, mTOR inhibitors were used in approximately 20% of patients in the early 2000s, but this dropped over the years to less than 10% currently. This decrease is arguably due to less well-tolerated side effects without the advantage of better outcomes. Nonetheless, mTOR inhibitors remain extremely valuable as second-line immunosuppressants in pancreas and islet transplantation.

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