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., MSCI (pictured), and colleagues at Vanderbilt have discovered that a single genetic variation affects dose amounts.