Novel Agent Targeting Beta Cells was Effective in Inducing Long-Term Islet Survival

Immunologic rejection is a major barrier to successful long-term outcomes in clinical transplantation. Recently, a novel class of clinical immunotherapeutic agents specific to the B-cells (the cells of the immune system that make antibodies and can also function as antigen presenting cells) has emerged for the treatment of B-cell-mediated diseases. In this study, the authors demonstrate the potential utility of B-cell directed immunotherapy in preventing transplant rejection using an islet transplantation model. After treatment with these immunotherapeutic agents, indefinite islet transplant survival was achieved. This treatment effectively induces immune tolerance and promotes long-term islet transplant survival in mice. Therefore, B-cell-directed immunotherapy may be effective in promoting transplantation survival and improved function via the induction of immune tolerance.


Murine islet allograft tolerance upon blockade of the B-lymphocyte stimulator, BLyS/BAFF Transplantation. 2012 Apr 15;93(7):676-85

Investigators and Institutions:

The study was led by Dr. Naji and his colleagues at University of Pennsylvania.

Ramifications for Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes:

Islet transplantation has been shown to have great efficacy in T1D individuals, but is not an option for most people. One of the limiting factors is the use of chronic immunosuppression. This research is a promising approach to help remove this barrier.

JDRF Involvement:

This work was supported in part by JDRF.