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Withdrawal of Immunosuppression in Pediatric Liver Transplant Recipients

Official Title:

Immunosuppression Withdrawal for Pediatric Living-donor Liver Transplant Recipients (ITN029ST)

Basic Trial Information

Phase Type Age Sponsor Protocol IDs Status
Phase 1 Interventional 4 - 18 Years National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) DAIT ITN029ST
Ongoing but not enrolling patients

Study Design:

Principal Investigator

Professor of Surgery
Division of Transplant Surgery
Director, Abdominal Transplant Fellowship Program

Trial Summary

Antirejection medicines, also known as immunosuppressive drugs, are prescribed to organ transplant recipients to prevent their bodies from rejecting the new organ. Long-term use of these drugs places transplant recipients at higher risk of serious infections and certain types of cancer. The purpose of this study is to determine whether immunosuppressive drugs can be safely withdrawn over a minimum of 9 months from children who received liver transplants at least 4 years ago.


Inclusion Criteria for Liver Recipients:
  • Received liver from living parent donor
  • Received transplant at least 4 years prior to study entry
  • Less than 18 years of age at time of transplant
  • Parent or guardian willing to provide informed consent
Inclusion Criteria for Liver Donors:
  • Willing to participate in this study
Exclusion Criteria for Liver Recipients:
  • Underwent transplant because of liver failure related to autoimmune disease
  • Underwent transplant of a second organ simultaneously with or after liver transplant
    OR liver retransplantation
  • Receiving immunosuppression with more than one drug
  • 50% increase in dose of current immunosuppressive drug
  • HIV infection
  • Hepatitis B or C virus infection
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding

Detailed Description

In order to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs, transplant recipients are
prescribed a strict, lifelong regimen of immunosuppressive drugs. While these drugs help
prevent the body from rejecting the transplant, they carry numerous complications, including
increased risk of serious infections and certain types of cancer. However, there is mounting
evidence that a significant percentage of liver transplant recipients can maintain a
healthy, functioning transplant without ongoing immunosuppression. This study will determine
whether gradual withdrawal and eventual discontinuation of all immunosuppressive medication
can be safely accomplished in children who received a liver transplant from a parent. Twenty
eligible patients who were under 18 years old at the time of transplant, whose donor was a
parent, and who received the transplant at least four years ago will be enrolled in the
Liver recipients will have an initial screening assessment consisting of a medical history,
liver biopsy, and urine and blood collection. Eligible recipients will be placed on a
modified medication schedule to gradually decrease their immunosuppression medication slowly
over a 9- to 12-month period, during which time they will be closely monitored by study
staff. Immunosuppressive drugs will not be provided by this study. For a minimum of 3 and up
to a maximum of 7 years, monthly telephone consultations and quarterly study visits will
occur. Visits will include physical exams and blood collection to monitor the children's
health during the withdrawal phase. The exact schedule of immunosuppressant withdrawal will
be determined by study physicians based on participant's health and immune function test
results. Donor and nondonor parents will be asked to each provide one blood sample during
the initial study visits for immunologic and genetic testing.
*** IMPORTANT NOTICE: *** The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the
Immune Tolerance Network do not recommend the discontinuation of immunosuppressive therapy
for recipients of cell, organ, or tissue transplants outside of physician-directed,
controlled clinical studies. Discontinuation of prescribed immunosuppressive therapy can
result in serious health consequences and should only be performed in certain rare
circumstances, upon the recommendation and with the guidance of your health care provider.


Final eligibility is determined by the health professionals conducting the trial and the protocol approved by the Committee on Human Resources (CHR) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The Patient Consent Form for this trial is available upon request. For more information about this trial, please see the full posting at

Information about this trial was obtained from the NIH Clinical Trials website, on 1/26/2017. UCSF specific information including the PI (Principal Investigator), trial enrollment status, and UCSF Study ID, supplement the study posting.