Editors' ChoiceDrug Delivery

A Leg Up for Transplant

Sci. Signal.  19 Aug 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 339, pp. ec224
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005798

A one-shot delivery can enhance transplant survival in rats. Gajanayake et al. report that tacrolimus-encapsulated hydrogels improve long-term survival of a vascularized composite allograft (VCA). VCA is a promising alternative to reconstructive surgery or prosthesis use. However, transplant recipients must undergo systemic long-term immunosuppression, which increases their susceptibility to infection, kidney disease, and certain cancers. The authors encapsulated the immunosuppressive tacrolimus in a hydrogel composed of a material FDA classified as generally recognized as safe that was degraded by inflammatory enzymes. The tacrolimus-laden hydrogel increased graft survival time with one injection in a rat hindlimb transplant model. If reproduced in people, this delivery method could increase patient compliance and potentially decrease toxicity in transplant recipients.

T. Gajanayake, R. Olariu, F. M. Leclère, A. Dhayani, Z. Yang, A. K. Bongoni, Y. Banz, M. A. Constantinescu, J. M. Karp, P. K. Vemula, R. Rieben, E. Vögelin, A single localized dose of enzyme-responsive hydrogel improves long-term survival of a vascularized composite allograft. Sci. Transl. Med. 6, 249ra110 [Abstract]

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