The first kidney transplant was performed in 1950. Over the years, the surgical techniques for organ transplantation has become so successful that organ recipients can expect to live a normal lifespan.
However, organ transplantation involves the process of introducing a foreign organ to a person’s body, and the body’s natural response is to attack the donated organ. As a result, all organ recipients require a lifelong regimen of powerful immunosuppressive drugs to keep the organ from rejecting.
The anti-rejection drugs that are prescribed to perform a life-sustaining function also come with a life-threatening risk. The drugs have significant side effects and cause certain types of cancer, hypertension, and diabetes and can inhibit the body’s ability to fight off infection. Over time, the immune system can still react against the organ.
The drugs are expensive costing a patient anywhere from $36,000 to $65,000 per year. Unfortunately, approximately 50% of transplant recipients eventually reject their organ anyway due to the toxicity of the drugs and must start over on the organ waiting list. Many do not survive the side effects or additional wait time.
The goal of the transplant community is to reduce or eliminate immunosuppressive drug therapy and promote transplantation tolerance by the use of alternative therapies.
TRACT Therapy Approach to Eliminating Rejection
Our innovative approach was developed from over 20 years of research focused on creating transplant tolerance. The therapy involves the isolation and expansion of a patient’s own naturally occurring T regulatory cells, known as Tregs, which have been shown to modulate immune responses and significantly contribute to immune system tolerance. After multiplying the patient’s immune cells in the laboratory, the expanded numbers of Tregs are infused back into the patient to regulate immune responses to the foreign organ. This breakthrough technology for self-regulation of the immune system has come to be recognized as an attractive way to promote tolerance and prevent rejection of transplanted organs.
We hope to demonstrate in future clinical studies, the reduction and eventual withdrawal of all immunosuppressive drug therapy.