Towards graft-specific immune suppression: Gene therapy of the transplanted kidney

Maria Sandovici, Leo E. Deelman, Ariela Benigni, Robert H. Henning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kidney transplantation remains the best therapeutic option for patients with end-stage renal disease. Immunosuppressive therapy has largely resolved the issue of acute transplant rejection. However, because of its systemic nature, immunosuppressive therapy trades off efficacy against side-effects and its chronic use has been associated with severe infections and malignancy. Moreover, long-term survival of renal grafts did not change over the past twenty years. This situation may be improved by using gene therapy as an alternative or add-on strategy to the classic, systemic immune suppression. This review discusses gene therapy approaches in kidney transplantation by addressing the essentials of delivery vectors and by outlining strategies to achieve local immunosupression and allograft-specific tolerance, both in acute rejection and chronic transplant dysfunction. Employing such strategies, local suppression of the immune response and induction of transplantation-specific tolerance have been accomplished in experimental gene therapy. If successful in the clinical setting, gene therapy may (partially) substitute systemic, non-selective immunosuppressive medication, with a major impact on the quality of life and survival of the transplanted patients as well as on the waiting time for receiving a renal graft.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1358-1368
Number of pages11
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Nov 30 2010


  • Gene delivery
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Liposome
  • Plasmid
  • Rejection
  • Small interfering RNA
  • Tolerance
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards graft-specific immune suppression: Gene therapy of the transplanted kidney'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this