Immune System News Releases

Exposure to Pet and Pest Allergens During Infancy Linked to Reduced Asthma Risk
September 19, 2017

Children exposed to high indoor levels of pet or pest allergens during infancy have a lower risk of developing asthma by 7 years of age, new research supported by the National Institutes of Health reveals. The findings, published September 19 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, may provide clues for the design of strategies to prevent asthma from developing.

NIH Study Sheds Light on Immune Responses Driving Obesity-Induced Liver Disease
June 28, 2017

New findings from mouse models reveal that the type of immune response that helps maintain healthy metabolism in fatty tissues, called type 2 immunity, also drives obesity-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The work, led by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, shows that the inflammatory environment in the fatty liver is more complex than previously thought.

NIAID Scientists Identify Cause, Possible Treatment for Life-Threatening Gut Condition
June 28, 2017

Investigators at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and international colleagues have discovered a genetic cause and potential treatment strategy for a rare immune disorder called CHAPLE disease. Children with the condition can experience severe gastrointestinal distress and deep vein blood clots. No effective treatments are available to ameliorate or prevent these life-threatening symptoms. 

NIAID Scientists Discover Rare Genetic Susceptibility to Common Cold
June 12, 2017

Scientists have identified a rare genetic mutation that results in a markedly increased susceptibility to infection by human rhinoviruses (HRVs)—the main causes of the common cold. Colds contribute to more than 18 billion upper respiratory infections worldwide each year, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study.

Stem Cell Transplants May Induce Long-Term Remission of Multiple Sclerosis
February 1, 2017

New clinical trial results provide evidence that high-dose immunosuppressive therapy followed by transplantation of a person's own blood-forming stem cells can induce sustained remission of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system. 

NIH Scientists Repair Gene Defect in Stem Cells from Patients with Rare Immunodeficiency
January 11, 2017

Scientists have developed a new approach to repair a defective gene in blood-forming stem cells from patients with a rare genetic immunodeficiency disorder called X-linked chronic granulomatous disease (X-CGD). After transplant into mice, the repaired stem cells developed into normally functioning white blood cells, suggesting the strategy could potentially be used to treat people with this disease.

NIAID Research Aids Discovery of Genetic Immune Disorder
December 23, 2016

Investigators at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and international colleagues have identified a genetic immune disorder characterized by increased susceptibility and poor immune control of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and, in some cases, an EBV-associated cancer called Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The researchers studied two unrelated sets of siblings with similar immune problems and determined their symptoms were likely caused by a lack of CD70, a protein found on the surface of several types of immune cells.

T-Cell Differences May Reveal Individuals’ Age, Susceptibility to Disease
November 15, 2016

Different cells of the human body differ greatly in structure and function. However, variation exists even among cells of one type. New research from investigators at the National Institutes of Health suggests the magnitude of such differences in T lymphocytes, or T cells, may indicate an individual’s age and genetic predisposition to disease. Learning more about so-called cell-to-cell expression variation, or CEV, may further illuminate how the immune system functions and one day serve as a diagnostic tool to help implement personalized medicine, according to the researchers.

Skin Patch to Treat Peanut Allergy Shows Benefit in Children
October 26, 2016

A wearable patch that delivers small amounts of peanut protein through the skin shows promise for treating children and young adults with peanut allergy, with greater benefits for younger children, according to one-year results from an ongoing clinical trial. The treatment, called epicutaneous immunotherapy or EPIT, was safe and well-tolerated, and nearly all participants used the skin patch daily as directed.

Infant Gut Microbiome Appears to Shape Allergy Risk by Altering Immune Responses
September 12, 2016

The microbial communities, or microbiota, that naturally colonize the digestive tract in very young infants can affect their risk of later developing childhood allergies and asthma. Scientists now have identified a specific type of microbiota composition and corresponding metabolic environment in the neonatal gut that appears to influence immune cell populations and promote allergy and asthma development. The work was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

NIH Scientists Decode How Anthrax Toxin Proteins Might Help Treat Cancerous Tumors
June 27, 2016

Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), all parts of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), describe how combining engineered anthrax toxin proteins and existing chemotherapy drugs could potentially yield a therapy to reduce or eliminate cancerous tumors.

NIH Statement on World Asthma Day 2016
May 3, 2016

On World Asthma Day 2016, the National Institutes of Health reaffirms its commitment to support research to improve the lives of all people with asthma. NIH-funded research has advanced our understanding of asthma as a disease as well as the impact asthma has on the lives of those affected. 

Cancer Drug May Treat Sepsis, Other Uncontrollable Immune Responses to Infection
April 29, 2016

Results from laboratory experiments and mouse studies suggest that small doses of drugs from a specific class of approved cancer medications called topoisomerase 1 (top1) inhibitors may protect against the overwhelming immune response to infection that sometimes leads to sepsis, a bacterial condition that kills as many as 500,000 people in the United States each year.

“Dirty Mouse” May Model Human Immune System More Accurately, NIH-Funded Study Suggests
April 27, 2016

Medical interventions that work well when tested in mouse models can fail when they advance to safety and efficacy testing in humans. One reason for this, scientists propose, may be the differences between immune system development in laboratory mice and humans. 

Islet Transplantation Restores Blood Sugar Awareness and Control in Type 1 Diabetes
April 18, 2016

New clinical trial results show that transplantation of pancreatic islets—cell clusters that contain insulin-producing cells—prevents severe, potentially life-threatening drops in blood sugar in people with type 1 diabetes.

Animal Study Paints Picture of the Earliest Immune Responses to HIV
April 13, 2016

New research in monkeys exposed to SIV, the monkey equivalent of HIV, suggests that the virus spreads rapidly in the body and triggers early host responses that suppress antiviral immunity, thus promoting viral replication. The study, published in Cell, provides a detailed view of the period between initial mucosal exposure to the virus and the point at which it becomes detectable in the blood.

NIH Study Finds Protein May Be Responsible for Damage in Eosinophilic Esophagitis
April 7, 2016

Scientists have identified a protein that may be the cause of tissue damage in patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), which affects as many as 56 of every 100,000 people in the United States. EoE is a disease in which white blood cells called eosinophils accumulate in the esophagus, often causing difficult or painful swallowing, nausea, vomiting and poor growth in children and adults.

Antibodies from Unconventional B Cells Less Likely to Neutralize HIV, NIH Study Finds
March 17, 2016

Antibodies derived from a type of immune cell found in unusually high numbers in HIV-infected individuals with chronically uncontrolled virus levels are less effective at neutralizing HIV than antibodies derived from a different type of immune cell more common in people without HIV, scientists report. 

NIAID Seeks Public Comment on Update to Food Allergy Guidelines
March 4, 2016

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is seeking public comment on a draft update to the 2010 Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States (link is external) to address the prevention of peanut allergy. 

NIH Scientists Discover Genetic Cause of Rare Allergy to Vibration
February 3, 2016

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have identified a genetic mutation responsible for a rare form of inherited hives induced by vibration, also known as vibratory urticaria. Running, hand clapping, towel drying or even taking a bumpy bus ride can cause temporary skin rashes in people with this rare disorder.

NIH-Funded Study Suggests Potential to Predict Peanut Allergy Immunotherapy Outcomes
January 25, 2016

Oral immunotherapy for peanut allergy induces early, distinct changes in immune T-cell populations that potentially may help researchers determine which people will respond well to the therapy and which immune mechanisms are involved in the response, a new study suggests.

Gene Therapy Restores Immunity in Children and Young Adults with Rare Immunodeficiency
December 5, 2015

Gene therapy can safely rebuild the immune systems of older children and young adults with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency, a rare inherited disorder, scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have found.

Short-Term Additional Treatment Reduces Asthma Attacks in Inner-City Children During Fall
October 27, 2015

Adding the drug omalizumab to ongoing guidelines-based asthma therapy for a targeted four-month period beginning just before the start of school reduced the number of autumn asthma attacks, or exacerbations, in inner-city children. 

NIH Scientists Identify How Normally Protective Immune Responses Kill Neurons
October 6, 2015

National Institutes of Health scientists studying inflammation of the brain have discovered why certain immune responses, which typically help cells recognize and fight viral and bacterial infections, can sometimes be harmful to the brain.

NIH Mourns William E. Paul, Pioneering Immunologist and Laboratory Chief
September 22, 2015

William E. Paul, M.D., an internationally renowned immunologist and long-time laboratory chief at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, died on September 18, 2015, at the age of 79. 

NIH-Funded Researchers Identify New Genetic Immune Disorder
June 17, 2015

​Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have identified a new immune disorder-DOCK2 deficiency-named after the mutated gene responsible for the disease. 

Starting Treatment Soon After HIV Infection Improves Immune Health, Study Finds
November 24, 2014

A study by National Institutes of Health grantees suggests that the best time to start treatment for HIV infection also should be based on how much time has elapsed since becoming HIV-infected.

Gene Therapy Shows Promise for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency
October 8, 2014

Researchers have found that gene therapy using a modified delivery system, or vector, can restore the immune systems of children with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID-X1).