Induction immunosuppression is intense, prophylactic therapy used at the time of transplantation based on the empiric observation that more powerful immunosuppression is required to prevent acute rejection early. In the past decade, there has been a growing trend towards the use of specialized agents such as antibody therapies for induction. In general, these agents have been shown to reduce the rate of acute rejection. However, their use has not been clearly shown to improve long-term transplant outcomes. This overview will review the biological basis for induction immunosuppression and the mechanisms of action of those specialized induction agents currently in clinical use. Clinical trials investigating induction regimens will be evaluated, and an individualized approach to the use of induction immunosuppressants will be presented.
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