A letter published today in the New England Journal of Medicine reports on the long-term outcomes of patients from two ITN-sponsored combined kidney and bone marrow transplantation studies led by David H. Sachs, MD (Massachusetts General Hospital), Tatsuo Kawai, MD, PhD (Massachusetts General Hospital), Megan Sykes, MD (Columbia University) and A. Benedict Cosimi, MD (Massachusetts General Hospital). The goal of these studies was to create recipient tolerance of the donor kidney by first creating a temporary donor-host “chimeric” immune system via hematopoietic stem cell transplant. The first study enrolled five patients, and a subsequent (slightly modified) study enrolled another five patients.
Of the 10 total patients, five remain off immunosuppressive drugs altogether (for periods ranging from three to 10 years), and two others have stable kidney function while only on minimal mycophenylate mofetil (MMF). These long-term results demonstrate that stable tolerance can be achieved using combined kidney and bone marrow transplantation.