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Xenotransplantation tolerance

applications for recent advances in modified swine

Llore, Nathaly P.a; Bruestle, Karina A.a; Griesemer, Adama,b

Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation: December 2018 - Volume 23 - Issue 6 - p 642–648
doi: 10.1097/MOT.0000000000000585

Purpose of review The aim of this study was to review the recent progress in xenotransplantation achieved through genetic engineering and discuss the potential of tolerance induction to overcome remaining barriers to extended xenograft survival.

Recent findings The success of life-saving allotransplantation has created a demand for organ transplantation that cannot be met by the supply of human organs. Xenotransplantation is one possible solution that would allow for a nearly unlimited supply of organs. Recent genetic engineering of swine has decreased the reactivity of preformed antibodies to some, but not all, potential human recipients. Experiments using genetically modified swine organs have now resulted in survival of life-supporting kidneys for over a year. However, the grafts show evidence of antibody-mediated rejection on histology, suggesting additional measures will be required for further extension of graft survival. Tolerance induction through mixed chimerism or thymic transplantation across xenogeneic barriers would be well suited for patients with a positive crossmatch to genetically modified swine or relatively negative crossmatches to genetically modified swine, respectively.

Summary This review highlights the current understanding of the immunologic processes in xenotransplantation and describes the development and application of strategies designed to overcome them from the genetic modification of the source animal to the induction of tolerance to xenografts.

aColumbia Center for Translational Immunology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

bDepartment of Surgery, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA

Correspondence to Adam Griesemer, MD, The Columbia Center for Translational Immunology/Columbia University Medical Center, 650 West 168th St, BB1701E, New York, NY 10032, USA. E-mail:

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