Complement inhibition for prevention and treatment of antibody-mediated rejection in renal allograft recipients

Therapeutic interventions aimed at the human complement system are recognized as potentially important strategies for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases because there is often evidence of complement-mediated injury according to pathologic assessments. In addition, there are a large number of potential targets, both soluble and cell bound, that might offer potential for new drug development, but progress in this area has met with significant challenges. Currently, 2 drugs are approved aimed at inhibition of complement activation. The first option is eculizumab (anti-C5), which is approved for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome. Eculizumab has also been studied in human transplantation for the treatment and prevention of antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR). Initial data from uncontrolled studies suggested a significant benefit of eculizumab for the prevention of ABMR in highly HLA-sensitized patients, but a subsequent randomized, placebo-controlled trial failed to meet its primary endpoint. Anecdotal data, primarily from case studies, showed benefits in treating complement-mediated ABMR. A second approved complement-inhibiting therapy is C1 esterase inhibitor (C1-INH), which is approved for use in patients with hereditary angioedema, a condition caused by mutations in the gene that codes for C1-INH. A recent placebo-controlled trial of C1-INH for prevention of ABMR in HLA-sensitized patients found that the drug was safe, with evidence for inhibition of systemic complement activation and complement-activating donor-specific antibodies. Other drugs are now under development.

Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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