Volunteer for NIAID-funded clinical studies related to immune tolerance on ClinicalTrials.gov.
The past two decades of intensive and highly productive research on the immune system have resulted in a wealth of new information and extraordinary growth in conceptual understanding. These accomplishments now provide realistic opportunities for major advances in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of a broad range of human diseases involving the immune system. Significant advances over the past ten years include the identification of mechanisms by which antigen-specific immune tolerance can be induced to prevent pathologic immune responses. Based on the more comprehensive knowledge of immune tolerance that is now available, clinical applications to immune-mediated disorders are being developed, and early clinical trials are already in progress. The potential impact on human health is great, encompassing a wide range of immune-mediated disorders, including: autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus; asthma and allergic diseases; and graft rejection in solid organ, tissue and cell transplantation. Advances in tolerance induction will provide valuable new therapeutic strategies that do not require life-long, globally immunosuppressive therapy with its associated deleterious side effects, and the ability to modulate tolerance will also be important for preventing immune unresponsiveness to vaccines for tumors and infectious diseases.
In the fall of 1997, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) began a scientific planning process to determine how best to capitalize on the extraordinary opportunities now available. The NIAID Plan for Research on Immune Tolerance was formulated to provide a conceptual framework and broad-based set of strategies to further our understanding of immune tolerance and to accelerate the clinical application of tolerogenic approaches to treat and prevent many immune-mediated diseases. I am grateful to the members of the NIAID Expert Panel on Immune Tolerance for providing the insights and guidance necessary to develop fully a meaningful long-range strategic plan. I also want to express appreciation to the members of the NIAID Expert Panel on Ethical Issues in Clinical Trials of Transplant Tolerance for their valuable recommendations on many of the ethical issues surrounding the use of tolerance induction therapy in the transplant setting.
We enter the next century with a solid foundation for expanding fundamental research and for translating basic knowledge into clinical applications. The challenges will be many, but the potential benefit for human health will be extraordinary.
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Last Updated September 21, 2010
Last Reviewed September 10, 2010