Short-term outcomes following organ transplantation have improved considerably since the availability of cyclosporine ushered in the modern era of immunosuppression. In spite of this, many of the current limitations to progress in the field are directly related to the existing practice of relatively non-specific immunosuppression. These include increased risks of opportunistic infection and cancer, and toxicity associated with long-term immunosuppressive drug exposure. In addition, long-term graft loss continues to result in part from a failure to adequately control the anti-donor immune response. The development of a safe and reliable means of inducing tolerance would ameliorate these issues and improve the lives of transplant recipients, yet given the improving clinical standard of care, the translation of new therapies has become appropriately more cautious and dependent on increasingly predictive preclinical models. While convenient and easy to use, rodent tolerance models have not to date been reliably capable of predicting a therapy's potential efficacy in humans. Non-human primates possess an immune system that more closely approximates that found in humans, and have served as a more rigorous preclinical testing ground for novel therapies. Prior to clinical adaptation therefore, tolerance regimens should be vetted in non-human primates to ensure that there is sufficient potential for efficacy to justify the risk of its application.
One contribution of 16 to a Theme Issue ‘Immunoregulation: harnessing T cell biology for therapeutic benefit’.
- © 2005 The Royal Society