The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is spearheading a $144 million initiative to develop new ways of inducing immune tolerance -- selectively modulating the immune system by inhibiting harmful immune responses while keeping protective ones intact. The strategy promises to improve the success of transplants and treatments for autoimmune diseases that destroy the body's own cells. The research could lead to better management of type 1 diabetes, lupus, arthritis and other immune system disorders.
The project, known as the Collaborative Network for Clinical Research on Immune Tolerance, will involve nearly 40 research institutions internationally. Jeffrey Bluestone, Ph.D., director of the Ben May Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Chicago, was named director of the network.
"This collaboration brings together some of the brightest minds in immunology and flows from NIAID's plan to accelerate clinical trials for novel approaches to modulate immune responses," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "Immune tolerance research has great potential to help millions afflicted with some of the most debilitating and chronic immune-mediated diseases."
The seven-year initiative was announced at a University of Chicago press briefing about grants from NIAID and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International. JDF is co-sponsoring the initiative along with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which also conducts and supports research in immune modulation. NIAID and NIDDK are components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Network researchers will conduct clinical trials to improve the success of
kidney transplants using "tolerogenic approaches." Such therapies selectively
disable the immune cells responsible for attacking transplanted organs while
allowing other immune cells to function normally as defenders again
Contact: Gregory Roa
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases