Autoimmune Disease-Specific Research

NIAID supports a broad range of basic and clinical research on autoimmunity. Knowledge gained from basic research helps inform new experimental methods of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment, which are then evaluated in clinical studies.

Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome (ALPS)

Autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) is a rare genetic disorder of the immune system that affects both children and adults. In ALPS, unusually high numbers of white blood cells called lymphocytes accumulate in the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen and can lead to enlargement of these organs. Read more about ALPS research at NIAID.

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, cause inflammation of the digestive system. Crohn's can affect any area from the mouth to the anus and often affects the lower part of the small intestine called the ileum. Ulcerative colitis leads to sores on the large intestine, or colon. To learn about risk factors for these common IBDs and current prevention and treatment strategies visit the Crohn’s diseases site from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders (NIDDK) and ulcerative colitis site from NIDDK.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a nervous system disease that affects your brain and spinal cord. MS damages the myelin sheath, the material that surrounds and protects your nerve cells. This damage slows down or blocks messages between your brain and your body, leading to the symptoms of MS. To learn about risk factors for MS and current prevention and treatment strategies visit the multiple sclerosis information page from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. The patches usually appear on  the elbows, knees, scalp, back, face, palms and feet, but they can show up on other parts of the body. Some people who have psoriasis also get a form of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. To learn about risk factors for psoriasis and current prevention and treatment strategies visit the psoriasis site from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of autoimmune inflammation that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in your joints. RA can affect any joint but is common in the wrists and fingers. To learn about risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis and current prevention and treatment strategies visit the rheumatoid arthritis site from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

If you have lupus, your immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues by mistake. This can damage your joints, skin, blood vessels and organs. There are many kinds of lupus. The most common type, systemic lupus erythematosus, affects many parts of the body. Discoid lupus causes a rash that doesn't go away. Subacute cutaneous lupus causes sores after being out in the sun. Another type can be caused by medication. Neonatal lupus, which is rare, affects newborns. To learn about risk factors for lupus and current prevention and treatment strategies visit the systemic lupus erythematosus site from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Scleroderma

Scleroderma means “hard skin” and refers to a group of diseases that cause abnormal growth of connective tissue. Connective tissue is the material inside the body that gives tissues their shape and helps keep them strong. In scleroderma, the tissue gets too hard or thick and can cause swelling or pain in the muscles and joints. To learn about risk factors for sclerodorma and current prevention and treatment strategies visit the scleroderma site from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes means a person’s blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose get into cells to provide energy. Without insulin, too much glucose stays in the blood. Over time, high blood glucose can lead to serious problems with your heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and gums and teeth. Type 1 diabetes happens most often in children and young adults but can appear at any age. To learn about risk factors for type 1 diabetes and current prevention and treatment strategies visit the diabetes site from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Content last reviewed on October 27, 2016