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Study of Alemtuzumab Versus Anti-thymocyte Globulin to Help Prevent Rejection in Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation

Information source: Wake Forest Baptist Health
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Graft Rejection

Intervention: Alemtuzumab (Drug); Anti-Thymocyte Globulin (Drug)

Phase: Phase 4

Status: Active, not recruiting

Sponsored by: Wake Forest Baptist Health

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Alan C Farney, MD, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Wake Forest Baptist Health


The purpose of this research study is to compare the effects of the two most commonly used anti-T cell induction agents(alemtuzumab and rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin) to prevent rejection in kidney and pancreas transplant patients. Alemtuzumab is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for treating a certain type of cancer (leukemia), and Thymoglobulin« (rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin) is approved for anti-rejection treatment, but neither drug is FDA approved for administration at the time of transplantation to help prevent rejection. Even so, many transplant centers use these medications at the time of transplantation and believe that their use helps to decrease the risk of developing rejection following kidney and pancreas transplantation. Which drug might be better is not known. Subjects will receive either alemtuzumab (one administration) or rabbit anti-thymocyte (3 to 7 doses) at and within the first week of transplantation. Subjects will be assigned to either the alemtuzumab or rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin groups by chance. The two groups will be compared to see if there are meaningful differences for survival, organ function, side effects, and quality of life. The follow-up care after transplant for subjects in the study is the same as that for patients who are not in the study, except that a quality of life questionnaire (estimated to take 10 minutes to complete) will be completed at the time of transplant and through year 2 during selected scheduled clinic visits. A retrospective chart review will occur at 3-5 years post-transplant to follow incidence of chronic rejection, patient and graft survival and graft function.

Clinical Details

Official title: Alemtuzumab Versus Thymoglobulin Induction Therapy in Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Prevention

Primary outcome:

Patient survival

Graft survival

Acute Rejection

Secondary outcome:

Hematologic adverse events

Infectious adverse events

Other adverse events


Health status and quality of life

Detailed description: Anti-Thymocyte Globulin, rabbit (r-ATG, Thymoglobulin®) is a polyclonal antibody against T-lymphocytes that is used for the prevention and treatment of acute allograft rejection. r-ATG induction therapy is effective in preventing acute allograft rejection, however the usual 7-14 day course involves extensive clinical monitoring and is costly. Recent studies had suggested that smaller cumulative doses are efficacious for induction therapy, and may have an advantage by decreasing the adverse effects associated with the agent (such as leukopenia and thrombocytopenia). Our program subsequently modified our r-ATG induction regimen in November 2001 to give doses on alternate days for at least three doses and has achieved excellent results. However, this regimen is somewhat complex in that it requires central venous access for administration, pre-medication administration to prevent infusion-related reactions, and monitoring of vital signs during each infusion. Alemtuzumab (Campath®) is a humanized monoclonal antibody to CD52 that is FDA approved for the treatment of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL), but has also been used for immunosuppression induction at the time of solid organ transplant and as anti-rejection therapy. CD52 is present on most lymphocytes, macrophages, monocytes, and NK cells, and causes antibody-dependent cell lysis following the binding of alemtuzumab to the CD52 surface antigen. Alemtuzumab produces significant lymphocyte depletion similar to r-ATG, so some investigators began evaluating it as a preconditioning agent in tolerance protocols (using very low-dose maintenance immunosuppression) in solid organ transplantation. While these studies showed no significant tolerogenic potential for alemtuzumab, one or two 20-30 mg doses of alemtuzumab produced a similar degree of lymphocyte depletion as r-ATG administration. Based on these preliminary data in transplant recipients and prior safety data obtained from safety and efficacy studies of alemtuzumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, some US transplant centers changed from using r-ATG to alemtuzumab as their primary induction agent. Most of these centers (notably Wisconsin and Northwestern, where more than 500 kidney and pancreas patients have received alemtuzumab, personal communication Dixon Kaufman, Northwestern) use one or two doses of alemtuzumab for induction, followed by a traditional 2-3 drug maintenance immunosuppressive regimen (rather than the low-dose immunosuppression used in the tolerance protocols). Knechtle and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin have reported a comparable incidence of acute rejection and favorable graft survival in 130 patients who received a single intraoperative 30 mg dose (+/- an additional dose on post-operative day 1) of alemtuzumab compared with a historical cohort who received r-ATG, OKT3, an IL-2 receptor antagonist, or no induction. In addition, the group found that there was a dramatically lower incidence of acute rejection in the patients who experienced delayed graft function in the alemtuzumab group (9% vs 45% in the control group, p=0. 0078). The use of alemtuzumab as an induction agent in solid organ transplantation is appealing. Only a single intraoperative dose would be required (compared with between 2 and 6 additional doses of r-ATG post-op), thereby eliminating the necessity for central venous access and extensive clinical and nurse monitoring. In addition, the cost of therapy would be less with alemtuzumab than with r-ATG. At WFUBMC, 18 recipients of kidney or kidney/pancreas transplants who received alemtuzumab have had only a 9% six-month rejection rate. Our clinical experience suggests that the agents produce similar results; however, a prospective, randomized study to compare the safety and efficacy of alemtuzumab with r-ATG has not been reported. Also, although alemtuzumab would offer a significant medication cost savings over r-ATG, the impact on the overall cost of care has yet to be established. A comparative study will help us decide if we should make alemtuzumab our new standard of care at this institution. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of alemtuzumab (Campath-1H) for induction therapy in kidney and pancreas transplantation compared to our standard of care, alternate-day r-ATG.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: 65 Years. Gender(s): Both.


Enrollment of kidney transplant patients has been completed. The protocol has been amended to enroll 50 additional subjects who will receive either a simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplant, pancreas after kidney transplant, or solitary pancreas transplant. Inclusion Criteria:

- Male or female patients who receive a simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplant,

pancreas after kidney transplant, or solitary pancreas transplant

- Age 18 to 65

- Females of child bearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test at time of


- Ability to give informed consent

Exclusion Criteria:

- Inability to give informed consent

- ABO incompatibility

- T-cell or B-cell positive cross match

- Patients with a previous hypersensitivity to alemtuzumab, anti-thymocyte globulin, or

any monoclonal or polyclonal antibody preparation

- Current active infection (currently receiving antibiotics, treatment for active

infection within 1 week of transplant, or medical judgement)

- Hepatitis B surface antigen positive

- Human immunodeficiency virus positive

- Any malignancy within 2 years except for successfully treated basal or squamous cell

carcinoma of skin

- Pregnancy

- Breast feeding women

Locations and Contacts

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157, United States
Additional Information

Related publications:

Brennan DC, Flavin K, Lowell JA, Howard TK, Shenoy S, Burgess S, Dolan S, Kano JM, Mahon M, Schnitzler MA, Woodward R, Irish W, Singer GG. A randomized, double-blinded comparison of Thymoglobulin versus Atgam for induction immunosuppressive therapy in adult renal transplant recipients. Transplantation. 1999 Apr 15;67(7):1011-8. Erratum in: Transplantation 1999 May 27;67(10):1386.

Knechtle SJ, Pirsch JD, H Fechner J Jr, Becker BN, Friedl A, Colvin RB, Lebeck LK, Chin LT, Becker YT, Odorico JS, D'Alessandro AM, Kalayoglu M, Hamawy MM, Hu H, Bloom DD, Sollinger HW. Campath-1H induction plus rapamycin monotherapy for renal transplantation: results of a pilot study. Am J Transplant. 2003 Jun;3(6):722-30.

Kaufman DB, Leventhal JR, Gallon LG, Parker MA. Alemtuzumab induction and prednisone-free maintenance immunotherapy in simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation comparison with rabbit antithymocyte globulin induction - long-term results. Am J Transplant. 2006 Feb;6(2):331-9.

Starting date: February 2005
Last updated: January 10, 2011

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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