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Sirolimus (rapamycin): from the soil of Easter Island to a bright future.

Discovered in fungi in the remote Easter Island, sirolimus (rapamycin) shows potential beyond its obvious antiproliferative and immunosuppressant activity. Studies have demonstrated that sirolimus acts as a vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitor, providing prospective therapeutic benefits and possible prevention of tuberous sclerosis and Kaposi's sarcoma. Its ability to decrease keratinocyte proliferation may help patients with psoriasis. In those with tuberous sclerosis complex, it may prevent the development of hamartomas and reduce or eliminate them once grown by blocking the mammalian target of rapamycin, a critical regulatory kinase. A great advantage for this drug is in the decreased risk of malignancies, including Kaposi's sarcoma, associated with its use compared with other immunosuppressants, namely calcineurin inhibitors. This review will focus on the pharmacology and potential uses of sirolimus.

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