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Immune Management Laboratory

Photo of Allan Douglas Kirk, MD, PhD

Allan Douglas Kirk, MD, PhD

Office: HAFS Building, 7th Floor, Suite 7690
Campus Mail: DUMC 3704, Durham, NC 27710

Scientific Focus

When patients receive an organ transplant, they must take immunosuppressive medications for life to prevent rejection. These drugs are incompletely effective and cause significant morbidity. My research is directed toward understanding transplant rejection and translating this understanding into less morbid therapies for transplant recipients.

Our group uses in vitro and animal models to develop transplant strategies and then investigates them in clinical trials. We also receive samples from patients in clinical trials to help understand what the next questions should be. We have successfully targeted several costimulatory molecules with monoclonal antibodies in primates and in humans, and are currently working to determine the best means of using these molecules to prevent kidney transplant rejection.

I am interested in the expression of CD154 on platelets and its implications for immune activation and thrombosis. I have initiated several clinical trials using monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies to achieve transient lymphocyte depletion, substantially reducing the need for immunosuppression in humans. Our group has shown that monocytes and memory T cells play a key role in post-depletional immune responses, and we are evaluating the signals influencing human monocyte and memory T cell function during depletion in humans.

Improved therapeutics and more precise monitoring techniques will facilitate tailor-made immune therapies and improve patient outcomes.

Latest Publications

Mulvihill, Michael S., Kannan P. Samy, Qimeng A. Gao, Robin Schmitz, Robert P. Davis, Brian Ezekian, Francis Leopardi, et al. “Secondary lymphoid tissue and costimulation-blockade resistant rejection: A nonhuman primate renal transplant study..” Am J Transplant 19, no. 8 (August 2019): 2350–57. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajt.15365.

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Lin, Liwen, He Xu, Muath Bishawi, FeiFei Feng, Kannan Samy, George Truskey, Andrew S. Barbas, Allan D. Kirk, and Todd V. Brennan. “Circulating mitochondria in organ donors promote allograft rejection..” Am J Transplant 19, no. 7 (July 2019): 1917–29. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajt.15309.

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Samy, Kannan P., Qimeng Gao, Robert Patrick Davis, Mingqing Song, Zachary W. Fitch, Michael S. Mulvihill, Andrea L. MacDonald, et al. “The role of human CD46 in early xenoislet engraftment in a dual transplant model..” Xenotransplantation, June 20, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/xen.12540.

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Anderson, Douglas J., Denise J. Lo, Francis Leopardi, Mingqing Song, Elizabeth A. Strobert, Joe B. Jenkins, Christian P. Larsen, and Allan D. Kirk. “Corticosteroids and methotrexate as adjuvants to costimulation blockade in non-human primate renal transplantation..” Clin Transplant 33, no. 6 (June 2019). https://doi.org/10.1111/ctr.13568.

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