A global collaboration including researchers from Brigham and
The study is published online
"This new approach to delivering immunosuppressant therapy suggests that local delivery of the drug to the grafted tissue has benefits in reducing toxicity, as well as markedly improving therapeutic outcomes, and may lead to a paradigm shift in clinical immunosuppressive therapy in transplant surgery," said
The researchers developed a hydrogel loaded with the immunosuppressant drug tacrolimus. The hydrogel-drug combo is injected under the skin after transplant surgery. The hydrogel remains inactive until it detects an inflammation/immune response from the transplant site, at which point it delivers the immunosuppressant drug for months locally within the transplanted graft.
In pre-clinical studies conducted by the researchers, a one-time, local injection of the hydrogel-drug combo prevented graft rejection for more than 100 days compared to 35.5 days for recipients receiving only tacrolimus and 11 days for recipients without treatment or only receiving hydrogel.
The innovation may also be applied in medical situations outside of transplant surgery.
"This safe, controlled release platform approach functions for over three months from a single injection, and that has broad implications," said Karp. "Nearly every disease has an inflammatory component. Thus we believe the materials we have developed could be used for localized treatment of multiple inflammatory diseases."
This research was supported by the
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