The presence of a donor-specific positive crossmatch has been considered to be a contraindication to kidney transplantation because of the risk of hyperacute rejection. Desensitization is the process of removing hazardous preformed donor-specific antibody (DSA) in order to safely proceed with transplant. Traditionally, this involves plasmapheresis and intravenous immune globulin treatments that occur over days to weeks, and has been feasible when there is a living donor and the date of the transplant is known, allowing time for pre-emptive treatments. For sensitized patients without a living donor, transplantation has been historically difficult.
Summary of Background Data:
IdeS (imlifidase) is an endopeptidase derived from Streptococcus pyogenes which has specificity for human IgG, and when infused intravenously results in rapid cleavage of IgG.
Here we present our single-center's experience with 7 highly sensitized (cPRA98–100%) kidney transplant candidates who had DSA resulting in positive crossmatches with their donors (5 deceased, 2 living) who received IdeS within 24 hours prior to transplant.
All pre-IdeS crossmatches were positive and would have been prohibitive for transplantation. All crossmatches became negative post-IdeS and the patients underwent successful transplantation. Three patients had DSA rebound and antibody-mediated rejection, which responded to standard of care therapies. Three patients had delayed graft function, which ultimately resolved. No serious adverse events were associated with IdeS. All patients have functioning renal allografts at a median follow-up of 235 days.
IdeS may represent a groundbreaking new method of desensitization for patients who otherwise might have no hope for receiving a lifesaving transplant.