RS-61443, a morpholinoethyl ester of mycophenolic acid, inhibits the synthesis of guanosine monophosphate, which plays a pivotal role in lymphocyte metabolism. The drug blocks proliferative responses of T and B lymphocytes, and inhibits antibody formation and the generation of cytotoxic T cells. In vivo, RS-61443 prolongs the survival of islet allografts in mice, heart allografts in rats, and kidney allografts in dogs. Reversal of ongoing acute rejection was demonstrated in rat heart allografts and kidney allografts in dogs. Preliminary evidence suggests that the drug prevents chronic rejection. The purpose of this study was to test the safety and tolerance in patients receiving primary cadaver kidneys. RS-61443 in doses from 100 mg/day p.o. to 3500 mg/day p.o. was given to patients in combination with cyclosporine and prednisone. Further study goals were to evaluate the pharmacokinetics of RS-61443, watch for the occurrence of opportunistic infections and acute rejection, and establish dosages for further clinical trials. Forty-eight patients were entered, with six patients in each dose group. RS-61443 was well tolerated in all dose groups, with only one adverse event possibly related to the drug (hemorrhagic gastritis). There was a statistically significant correlation between rejection episodes and dose (P=0.022), patients with rejection episodes versus dose (Ps0.038), and number of OKT3/prednisone courses versus dose (P=0.008). There was no overt nephrotoxicity or hepatotoxicity. Preliminary results of a rescue trial in 20 patients with kidney transplants will also be presented. © 1992 by Williams and Wilkins.