The long-term adverse effects of immunosuppressive treatment, the high rate of acute rejection and the development of chronic rejection are the main factors preventing a wider clinical application of vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA). Targeted immunosuppression using innovative drug delivery systems (DDS) may help to overcome these hurdles, increasing therapeutic efficacy while reducing systemic toxicity. This review provides a summary of the recently developed strategies for targeted delivery of immunosuppressive drugs in VCA.
Currently, several innovative strategies for targeted immunosuppression have been designed based on the anatomy and function of the target organ. Site-specific DDS have been developed both for directly accessible organs (i.e. skin, eye and lung) and internal organs (i.e. lymph nodes, liver, nervous system, etc.). In preclinical models, DDS designed for sustained, ‘on demand,’ or ‘on cue’ drug release has been shown to promote VCA survival while reducing systemic toxicity. These findings suggest that targeted delivery could increase patient compliance and potentially decrease toxicity in VCA recipients.
Targeted immunosuppression in VCA represents a promising approach for improving patient compliance and graft survival while reducing off-target toxicity, intensity and frequency of acute rejection episodes and risk of chronic rejection.
aDepartment for BioMedical Research, University of Bern
bDepartment of Plastic and Hand Surgery, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland
Correspondence to Robert Rieben, PhD, Department for Biomedical Research, University of Bern, Murtenstrasse 50, 3008, Bern, Switzerland. Tel: +41 31 632 96 69; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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