Experience with a novel efalizumab-based immunosuppressive regimen to facilitate single donor islet cell transplantation

N. A. Turgeon, J. G. Avila, J. A. Cano, J. J. Hutchinson, I. R. Badell, A. J. Page, A. B. Adams, M. H. Sears, P. H. Bowen, A. D. Kirk, T. C. Pearson, C. P. Larsen

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86 Scopus citations


Islet transplantation is an experimental therapy for selected patients with type 1 diabetes (T1DM). It remains limited by immunosuppressive drug toxicity, progressive loss of insulin independence, allosensitization and the need for multiple islet donors. We describe our experience with an efalizumab-based immunosuppressive regimen as compared to the prevailing standard regimen, the Edmonton protocol. Twelve patients with T1DM received islet transplants: eight were treated with the Edmonton protocol; four were treated with daclizumab induction, a 6-month course of tacrolimus, and maintenance with efalizumab and mycophenolate mofetil. The primary endpoint was insulin independence after one islet infusion. Only two Edmonton protocol treated patients achieved the primary endpoint; six required islets from multiple donors, and all experienced leukopenia, mouth ulcers, anemia, diarrhea and hypertransaminasemia. Four became allosensitized. All patients treated with the efalizumab-based regimen achieved insulin independence with normal hemoglobin A1c after a single islet cell infusion and remained insulin independent while on efalizumab. These patients experienced significantly fewer side effects and none became allosensitized. Trial continuation was terminated by withdrawal of efalizumab from the market. These data suggest that this efalizumab-based regimen prevents islet rejection, is well tolerated, and allows for single donor islet transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2082-2091
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • immunosuppressive therapy
  • islet transplantation


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