Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have developed a new drug therapy from lethal bacteria that could reduce rejection rates in kidney transplantation.
Approximately 128,000 people in the United States are waiting for organ transplants with more than 105,000 needing new kidneys, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
The study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that treating patients with the drug IdeS before transplantation significantly reduced, and in many cases eliminated, donor-specific antibodies that can lead to organ rejection or failure.
IdeS comes from an enzyme in the bacteria Streptococcus progenies, which causes sore throats and can become a life-threatening infection.
"We found that IdeS could immediately cut patient antibodies in half, making them powerless to attack and injure a newly transplanted kidney," Dr. Stanley C. Jordan, medical director of the Kidney Transplant Program at Cedars-Sinai, said in a press release. "We can put a new kidney in a patient without it being rejected."
The enzyme IdeS is derived from is the only one that can completely remove organ-rejecting antibodies and allow kidney transplantation to occur, according to Jordan.
Human leukocyte antigens, or HLA, are proteins that enable the immune system's defense against bacteria, viruses and other harmful invaders, however, transplant patients can develop antibodies to foreign HLA from failed organ transplants, transfusions or pregnancy.
"IdeS could change the way we treat antibody rejections overall," Jordan said. "We think this approach to preventing organ rejection has the potential to offer significant benefits to those in need of heart, lung, liver and bone marrow transplants."