Molecular analysis of transplant recipients

One of the major problems for patients who have undergone heart or other transplants is the potential for the body’s own immune system to attack the newly introduced organ. As a result, patients must take large doses of immunosuppressive drugs daily to prevent rejection of the new organ, which the body perceives as foreign. Unfortunately, these medications interfere with normal immune response, which leads to a wide range of dangerous side effects, including higher susceptibility to infections and cancer. Dosage must be carefully monitored: not enough, and the body will begin to reject the organ; too much, and patients must deal with the serious side effects. The goal of Edward Chang’s work is to develop new genetic tests to predict exactly how much medication each individual patient requires to ensure the organ is accepted with minimal side effects.