Cantab Pharmaceuticals plc is beginning Phase II trials of its drug, LM-CD45, to prevent patients' rejection of transplanted kidneys.The trials, conducted in association with Baxter Healthcare Corp., willinvolve 80 patients at 10 U.S. centers, including Baylor UniversityMedical Center, Methodist Hospital in Dallas and Shands Hospital atthe University of Florida.Andrew Sandham, Cantab's chief operating officer, said LM-CD45 isdesigned to prevent acute rejection of donor kidneys, which isexperienced by more than 50 percent of recipients in the first fewmonths of the transplant. The drug is injected into the kidney prior totransplantation.Sandham said one cause of acute rejection is white blood cells presentin the kidney from the donor. When those cells migrate into the bodyof the transplant patient, they stimulate an immune response against thenew kidney. LM-CD45 contains a pair of monoclonal antibodies thatbind to the donor kidney's white cells, which are called passengerleukocytes. When the kidney is transplanted, Sandham said thepatient's immune system seeks out the white cells and destroys them.Cantab Pharmaceuticals, of Cambridge, England, is developing thedrug through a collaborative agreement with Baxter Healthcare, ofDeerfield, Ill.In the Phase II trial, Sandham said 40 patients will receive kidneystreated with the drug while the others will receive kidneys treated withplacebos. A Phase I/II multicenter trial conducted in Great Britainshowed LM-CD45 was well-tolerated by the 40 transplant patients whoparticipated.Cantab said that 25,000 people in the U.S. and Europe undergo kidneytransplants each year. - Charles Craig
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