Stanford scientists mimicked a powerful immune-system disease to create a new transplant drug that lacks many of the side effects that patients now face. The experimental drug helped monkeys that had been given kidney transplants -- a crucial hurdle, the researchers reported in this week's issue of Science. Human safety studies are beginning.
Unlike today's anti-rejection drugs, the new drug, CP-690,550, was specially engineered to inhibit a molecule called JAK3 that is key to marshaling the immune cells that attack and destroy implanted organs. The drug should have few side effects because JAK3 is found only in immune cells.