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Immune Tolerance

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The Immune Tolerance Network, an international research consortium sponsored by NIAID, conducts clinical trials to evaluate new approaches to preventing organ transplant rejection. Credit: National Kidney Foundation, 2010 U.S. Transplant Games

The immune system is precisely tuned to distinguish biochemical structures that belong to the body from those that do not, allowing it to swiftly deploy a potent array of defense mechanisms whenever evidence of a foreign invasion is found. However, many conditions, including autoimmune disorders, allergic diseases, and transplant rejection, are caused by inappropriate immune system responses.

To fight these disorders, researchers are now building on two decades of intensive basic research in immunology to develop treatments that can induce the immune system to tolerate specific antigens.

Progress in the development of these therapies, which have the potential to be both very potent and broadly applicable, has been very encouraging.

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Last Updated September 30, 2013

Last Reviewed October 18, 2010