Minimizing immunosuppression in hand transplantation

Gerald Brandacher, W. P.Andrew Lee, Stefan Schneeberger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Hand transplantation, despite all initial skepticism, has developed from myth to reality over the past decade and has shown highly encouraging immunological and functional outcomes. However, the requirement of life-long, multidrug immunosuppression bearing the risk of serious side effects still remains the limiting factor for widespread clinical application of this novel reconstructive modality. Recent advances in immunosuppressive drug development and the design of novel cell-based therapeutic strategies that take into consideration the unique immunological and biological aspects of vascularized composite allografts have shown favorable results with regard to minimization of immunosuppressive medication and tolerance induction in both translational animal studies and first clinical trials in reconstructive transplantation. This review provides an overview of the current available conventional treatment protocols and novel immunosuppression minimization concepts for hand transplantation, which ultimately could significantly favor the risk-benefit ratio for this life-changing type of transplant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-684
Number of pages12
JournalExpert review of clinical immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • hand transplantation
  • immune regulation
  • immunosuppression minimization
  • stem cells
  • tolerance induction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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