Immune response after pig-to-human kidney xenotransplantation: a multimodal phenotyping study
BACKGROUND:Cross-species immunological incompatibilities have hampered pig-to-human xenotransplantation, but porcine genome engineering recently enabled the first successful experiments. However, little is known about the immune response after the transplantation of pig kidneys to human recipients. We aimed to precisely characterise the early immune responses to the xenotransplantation using a multimodal deep phenotyping approach. METHODS:We did a complete phenotyping of two pig kidney xenografts transplanted to decedent humans. We used a multimodal strategy combining morphological evaluation, immunophenotyping (IgM, IgG, C4d, CD68, CD15, NKp46, CD3, CD20, and von Willebrand factor), gene expression profiling, and whole-transcriptome digital spatial profiling and cell deconvolution. Xenografts before implantation, wild-type pig kidney autografts, as well as wild-type, non-transplanted pig kidneys with and without ischaemia-reperfusion were used as controls. FINDINGS/RESULTS:cells. Both xenografts showed increased expression of genes biologically related to a humoral response, including monocyte and macrophage activation, natural killer cell burden, endothelial activation, complement activation, and T-cell development. Whole-transcriptome digital spatial profiling showed that antibody-mediated injury was mainly located in the glomeruli of the xenografts, with significant enrichment of transcripts associated with monocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, and natural killer cells. This phenotype was not observed in control pig kidney autografts or in ischaemia-reperfusion models. INTERPRETATION/CONCLUSIONS:Despite favourable short-term outcomes and absence of hyperacute injuries, our findings suggest that antibody-mediated rejection in pig-to-human kidney xenografts might be occurring. Our results suggest specific therapeutic targets towards the humoral arm of rejection to improve xenotransplantation results. FUNDING/BACKGROUND:OrganX and MSD Avenir.
Immune response, phenotyping and molecular graft surveillance in kidney transplant recipients following severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 vaccination
BACKGROUND:Understanding immunogenicity and alloimmune risk following severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccination in kidney transplant recipients is imperative to understanding the correlates of protection and to inform clinical guidelines. METHODS:We studied 50 kidney transplant recipients following SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and quantified their anti-spike protein antibody, donor-derived cell-free DNA (dd-cfDNA), gene expression profiling (GEP), and alloantibody formation. RESULTS:Participants were stratified using nucleocapsid testing as either SARS-CoV-2-naïve or experienced prior to vaccination. One of 34 (3%) SARS-CoV-2 naïve participants developed anti-spike protein antibodies. In contrast, the odds ratio for the association of a prior history of SARS-CoV-2 infection with vaccine response was 18.3 (95% confidence interval 3.2, 105.0, p < 0.01). Pre- and post-vaccination levels did not change for median dd-cfDNA (0.23% vs. 0.21% respectively, p = 0.13), GEP scores (9.85 vs. 10.4 respectively, p = 0.45), calculated panel reactive antibody, de-novo donor specific antibody status, or estimated glomerular filtration rate. CONCLUSIONS:SARS-CoV-2 vaccines do not appear to trigger alloimmunity in kidney transplant recipients. The degree of vaccine immunogenicity was associated most strongly with a prior history of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The Organ Shortage Continues to Be a Crisis for Patients With End-stage Kidney Disease
Pig-to-human heart xenotransplantation in two recently deceased human recipients
Genetically modified xenografts are one of the most promising solutions to the discrepancy between the numbers of available human organs for transplantation and potential recipients. To date, a porcine heart has been implanted into only one human recipient. Here, using 10-gene-edited pigs, we transplanted porcine hearts into two brain-dead human recipients and monitored xenograft function, hemodynamics and systemic responses over the course of 66 hours. Although both xenografts demonstrated excellent cardiac function immediately after transplantation and continued to function for the duration of the study, cardiac function declined postoperatively in one case, attributed to a size mismatch between the donor pig and the recipient. For both hearts, we confirmed transgene expression and found no evidence of cellular or antibody-mediated rejection, as assessed using histology, flow cytometry and a cytotoxic crossmatch assay. Moreover, we found no evidence of zoonotic transmission from the donor pigs to the human recipients. While substantial additional work will be needed to advance this technology to human trials, these results indicate that pig-to-human heart xenotransplantation can be performed successfully without hyperacute rejection or zoonosis.
Satellite internet technology implementation for the practice of medicine and surgery [Editorial]
Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation dissemination and integration with organ preservation in the USA: ethical and logistical considerations
Use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, termed eCPR, offers the prospect of improving survival with good neurological function after cardiac arrest. After death, ECMO can also be used for enhanced preservation of abdominal and thoracic organs, designated normothermic regional perfusion (NRP), before organ recovery for transplantation. To optimize resuscitation and transplantation outcomes, healthcare networks in Portugal and Italy have developed cardiac arrest protocols that integrate use of eCPR with NRP. Similar dissemination of eCPR and its integration with NRP in the USA raise novel ethical issues due to a non-nationalized health system and an opt-in framework for organ donation, as well as other legal and cultural factors. Nonetheless, eCPR investigations are ongoing, and both eCPR and NRP are selectively employed in clinical practice. This paper delineates the most pressing relevant ethical considerations and proposes recommendations for implementation of protocols that aim to promote public trust and reduce conflicts of interest. Transparent policies should rely on protocols that separate lifesaving from organ preservation considerations; robust, centralized eCPR data to inform equitable and evidence-based allocations; uniform practices concerning clinical decision-making and resource utilization; and partnership with community stakeholders, allowing patients to make decisions about emergency care that align with their values. Proactively addressing these ethical and logistical challenges could enable eCPR dissemination and integration with NRP protocols in the USA, with the potential to maximize lives saved through both improved resuscitation with good neurological outcomes and increased organ donation opportunities when resuscitation is unsuccessful or not in accordance with individuals' wishes.
Future of Lung Transplantation: Xenotransplantation and Bioengineering Lungs
Xenotransplantation promises to alleviate the issue of donor organ shortages and to decrease waiting times for transplantation. Recent advances in genetic engineering have allowed for the creation of pigs with up to 16 genetic modifications. Several combinations of genetic modifications have been associated with extended graft survival and life-supporting function in experimental heart and kidney xenotransplants. Lung xenotransplantation carries specific challenges related to the large surface area of the lung vascular bed, its innate immune system's intrinsic hyperreactivity to perceived 'danger', and its anatomic vulnerability to airway flooding after even localized loss of alveolocapillary barrier function. This article discusses the current status of lung xenotransplantation, and challenges related to immunology, physiology, anatomy, and infection. Tissue engineering as a feasible alternative to develop a viable lung replacement solution is discussed.
Comparison of artificial intelligence and human-based prediction and stratification of the risk of long-term kidney allograft failure
BACKGROUND:Clinical decisions are mainly driven by the ability of physicians to apply risk stratification to patients. However, this task is difficult as it requires complex integration of numerous parameters and is impacted by patient heterogeneity. We sought to evaluate the ability of transplant physicians to predict the risk of long-term allograft failure and compare them to a validated artificial intelligence (AI) prediction algorithm. METHODS:We randomly selected 400 kidney transplant recipients from a qualified dataset of 4000 patients. For each patient, 44 features routinely collected during the first-year post-transplant were compiled in an electronic health record (EHR). We enrolled 9 transplant physicians at various career stages. At 1-year post-transplant, they blindly predicted the long-term graft survival with probabilities for each patient. Their predictions were compared with those of a validated prediction system (iBox). We assessed the determinants of each physician's prediction using a random forest survival model. RESULTS:Among the 400 patients included, 84 graft failures occurred at 7 years post-evaluation. The iBox system demonstrates the best predictive performance with a discrimination of 0.79 and a median calibration error of 5.79%, while physicians tend to overestimate the risk of graft failure. Physicians' risk predictions show wide heterogeneity with a moderate intraclass correlation of 0.58. The determinants of physicians' prediction are disparate, with poor agreement regardless of their clinical experience. CONCLUSIONS:This study shows the overall limited performance and consistency of physicians to predict the risk of long-term graft failure, demonstrated by the superior performances of the iBox. This study supports the use of a companion tool to help physicians in their prognostic judgement and decision-making in clinical care.
A Randomized Double-Blinded Placebo Controlled Trial of Clazakizumab for the Treatment of COVID-19 Pneumonia With Hyperinflammation
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:We designed this study to test whether clazakizumab, a direct interleukin-6 inhibitor, benefits patients hospitalized with severe or critical COVID-19 disease accompanied by hyperinflammation. DESIGN/METHODS:Multicenter, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, seamless phase II/III trial. SETTING/METHODS:Five U.S. medical centers. PATIENTS/METHODS:Adults inpatients with severe COVID-19 disease and hyperinflammation. INTERVENTIONS/METHODS:Eighty-one patients enrolled in phase II, randomized 1:1:1 to low-dose (12.5â€‰mg) or high-dose (25â€‰mg) clazakizumab or placebo. Ninety-seven patients enrolled in phase III, randomized 1:1 to high-dose clazakizumab or placebo. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS/RESULTS:The primary outcome was 28-day ventilator-free survival. Secondary outcomes included overall survival ,frequency and duration of intubation, and frequency and duration of ICU admission. Per Data Safety and Monitoring Board recommendations, additional secondary outcomes describing clinical status and status changes, as measured by an ordinal scale, were added. Bayesian cumulative proportional odds, logistic, and Poisson regression models were used. The low-dose arm was dropped when the phase II study suggested superiority of the high-dose arm. We report on 152 patients, 74 randomized to placebo and 78 to high-dose clazakizumab. Patients receiving clazakizumab had greater odds of 28-day ventilator-free survival (odds ratio [OR] = 3.84; p [OR > 1] 99.9%), as well as overall survival at 28 and 60 days (OR = 1.75; p [OR > 1] 86.5% and OR = 2.53; p [OR > 1] 97.7%). Clazakizumab was associated with lower odds of intubation (OR = 0.2; p [OR] < 1; 99.9%) and ICU admission (OR = 0.26; p [OR < 1] 99.6%); shorter durations of ventilation and ICU stay (risk ratio [RR] < 0.75; p [RR < 1] > 99% for both); and greater odds of improved clinical status at 14, 28, and 60 days (OR = 2.32, p [OR > 1] 98.1%; OR = 3.36, p [OR > 1] 99.6%; and OR = 3.52, p [OR > 1] 99.8%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS:Clazakizumab significantly improved 28-day ventilator-free survival, 28- and 60-day overall survival, as well as clinical outcomes in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and hyperinflammation.
Early experience with donation after circulatory death heart transplantation using normothermic regional perfusion in the United States
OBJECTIVE:This pilot study sought to evaluate the feasibility of our donation after circulatory death (DCD) heart transplantation protocol using cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) for normothermic regional reperfusion (NRP). METHODS:Suitable local DCD candidates were transferred to our institution. Life support was withdrawn in the operating room (OR). On declaration of circulatory death, sternotomy was performed, and the aortic arch vessels were ligated. CPB was initiated with left ventricular venting. The heart was reperfused, with correction of any metabolic abnormalities. CPB was weaned, and cardiac function was assessed at 30-minute intervals. If accepted, the heart was procured with cold preservation and transplanted into recipients in a nearby OR. RESULTS:Between January 2020 and January 2021, a total of 8 DCD heart transplants were performed: 6 isolated hearts, 1 heart-lung, and 1 combined heart and kidney. All donor hearts were successfully resuscitated and weaned from CPB without inotropic support. Average lactate and potassium levels decreased from 9.39Â Â±Â 1.47Â mmol/L to 7.20Â Â±Â 0.13Â mmol/L and 7.49Â Â±Â 1.32Â mmol/L to 4.36Â Â±Â 0.67Â mmol/L, respectively. Post-transplantation, the heart-lung transplant recipient required venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for primary lung graft dysfunction but was decannulated on postoperative day 3 and recovered uneventfully. All other recipients required minimal inotropic support without mechanical circulatory support. Survival was 100% with a median follow-up of 304Â days (interquartile range, 105-371Â days). CONCLUSIONS:DCD heart transplantation outcomes have been excellent. Our DCD protocol is adoptable for more widespread use and will increase donor heart availability in the United States.