Belatacept preserves kidney function in transplant recipients better than cyclosporine, says study

April 14, 2016

Larsen, along with fellow Emory University transplant surgeon and researcher Thomas C. Pearson, MD, DPhil, Emory professor of surgery and co-director of the kidney/pancreas transplant program at the Emory Transplant Center, made significant research contributions to the development of belatacept, in collaboration with other investigators at Emory, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Bristol Myers Squibb.

A third study, which pooled safety data from phase II and phase III studies over 2.4 to 7 years, found that longer-term treatment with belatacept-based regimens was generally safe. The incidence of deaths and serious adverse events were lowest in the belatacept LI group. The overall incidence of malignancies remained low, but was slightly higher in the MI group. The incidence of herpes infections and tuberculosis (mostly in endemic areas) was low overall, but higher in the belatacept groups. Fifteen cases of PTLD occurred (13 with belatacept, 2 with cyclosporine), mainly in patients not previously exposed to Epstein-Barr virus, which many humans have as a low-level chronic infection. The researchers say PTLD might be reduced by avoiding use of belatacept in Epstein-Barr-na-ve patients.

Belatacept is a "costimulation blocker" that inhibits one of two signals T cells require to trigger an immune response. It is a modified version of a fusion protein known as CTLA4-Ig, which mimics a regulatory molecule found on T cells and acts as a decoy. CTLA4-Ig (commercial name: abatecept/Orencis) is FDA approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Source: Emory University