Liver transplants can offer patients the chance for a longer, healthier life. For liver recipients, anti-rejection medications known as “immunosuppressive drugs” help prevent the immune system from attacking the foreign organ and causing damage. Although this helps keep the liver healthy, anti-rejection medications have a number of serious side effects including an increased risk of infections and certain kinds of cancer. Because of these negative side effects, an important goal of transplant research is to allow people to live with their transplanted organ without long-term use of immunosuppression. This is called tolerance.
Previous clinical studies have shown that about half of the participants are able to stop their anti-rejection medication(s) completely without experiencing organ rejection.