PREDICT Program Helps Protect Transplant Patients

PREDICT Program Helps Protect Transplant Patients

Kelly Birdwell, M.D.The drug Tacrolimus is vital for patients who receive transplants of hearts, kidneys and other organs. The drug tames the body’s immune system, preventing it from rejecting the new organ.

Also called Prograf, tacrolimus is difficult to dose. If too little of the drug is given, the body may reject the transplanted organ. Too much can cause serious side effects such as diabetes and skin cancer.

Different transplant patients need different doses of Prograf. Kelly Birdwell, M.D., M.S.C.I., and colleagues at Vanderbilt have discovered that a single genetic variation affects dose amounts.

This drug is now part of Vanderbilt’s PREDICT program, which uses genetic information to accurately dose 5 different drugs.
How it Works
A patient's blood is tested, with his or her consent, for known genetic variations that affect drug dosage. Results are saved in the patient's electronic health record. Doctors who prescribe tacrolimus or other drugs in the PREDICT program are alerted to adjust the dose as necessary if their patients carry the genetic variation.

The other drugs in PREDICT are:

  • Clopidogrel (Plavix) - anti-clotting drug
  • Warfarin - anti-clotting drug
  • Thiopurine therapies - drugs to treat certain cancers and autoimmune disorders

The Program
Since it was launched in 2010, PREDICT has genotyped more than 14,000 Vanderbilt patients for 184 genetic variations that affect the body’s response to various drugs.

More than 12,000 of the patients, 88%, have genetic variations that increase their risk of adverse effects from one or more of these 5 drugs.

PREDICT is designed to protect these patients from getting the wrong dose of these drugs. Long-term, it will save lives, reduce health care costs and shorten hospital stays.