CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The development of vaccinations continues to be a major priority in research and clinical medicine. There are a large number of diseases that do not have vaccinations that are effective or easily available, as in the case of HIV or herpes. New and emerging infectious agents such as SARS and Avian Flu, as well as resurfacing dormant diseases, are frequently without effective treatment as well. Threats of bioterrorism are also bringing the attention of the medical research community back to diseases such as anthrax and smallpox. LIAI's research scientists are working to understand how we can better immunize ourselves against infection and how we can better combat infections once we have been exposed. The La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology is hosting the national Immune Epitope Database (IEDB). Working in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health, La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology will be providing this extensive database of knowledge to the entire world, helping to improve our chances of conquering infectious diseases.
BREAKTHROUGH: Finding Provides Knowledge Critical to Developing First-Ever Dengue Vaccine
La Jolla Institute research has validated the long-held and controversial hypothesis that antibodies - usually the "good guys" in the body's fight against viruses - instead contribute to severe dengue virus-induced disease. The finding has major implications for the development of a first-ever vaccine against dengue virus, a growing public health threat which annually infects 50 to 100 million people worldwide, causing a half million cases of the severest form. Sujan Shresta, Ph.D, led the research team.
BREAKTHROUGH: Gene Discovery That Triggers Disease-Fighting Antibodies
research team led by the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology has
identified the specific gene which triggers the body to produce
disease-fighting antibodies -- a seminal finding that clarifies the exact
molecular steps taken by the body to mount an antibody defense against viruses
and other pathogens. The finding, published online today in the
prestigious journal Science,
has major implications for the development of new and more effective
vaccines. The La Jolla Institute's Shane Crotty, Ph.D., was
the lead scientist on the team, which also included researchers from Yale
BREAKTHROUGH: Emerging and Infectious Disease
The IEDB is groundbreaking because it contains antibody and T cell epitope data curated from scientific literature, presented collectively to facilitate basic research. The database interface is designed to be intuitive and easily searched, to propel the dissemination of immune epitope information, the generation of new research tools, diagnostic techniques, vaccines and therapeutics for emerging and re-emerging diseases.
Center for Infectious Disease
ALLERGY & ASTHMA RESEARCH
The history of The La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology is steeped in groundbreaking research into allergies. Dr. Kimishige Ishizaka, the Institute's first Scientific Director, received worldwide recognition for his discovery of the IgE protein. The spirit of Dr. Ishizaka's innovation continues at LIAI as today's renowned scientists use molecular tools to unravel the remaining mysteries of allergic reactions, seeking to develop tools to treat and prevent allergies. "Ten to 20 percent of the population of industrialized countries suffers from some form of allergies," said Toshiaki Kawakami, M.D., Ph.D. "There is a huge need to understand this disease and to find therapeutic interventions." Allergy Research
Asthma accounts for one-quarter of all emergency room visits in the U.S. each year. It might come as a surprise to many that asthma results from the good intentions of the body, gone bad. "It's a situation where the T cells ( the body's disease-fighting cells) are responding to something where you really don't want a response," said Michael Croft, Ph.D. Institute researchers, including Croft and Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., The La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology's president and chief scientific officer, are studying ways to stop the overzealous response from the immune system's T cells, which occurs due to contact with an external allergen such as those from pollen. Asthma Research
BREAKTHROUGH: La Jolla Institute Discovers Previously Unknown Cell Interaction Key in Immune System Attacks
Amnon Altman Ph.D., discovery opens up novel therapeutic avenue for autoimmune diseases.
BREAKTHROUGH: Role of LIGHT molecule for remodeling in the lung
Michael Croft, Ph.D., a researcher at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, has discovered a molecule’s previously unknown role as a major trigger for airway remodeling, which impairs lung function, making the molecule a promising therapeutic target for chronic asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and several other lung conditions. A scientific paper on Dr. Croft’s finding was published online in the prestigious journal, Nature Medicine.
BREAKTHROUGH: T Cell Activation
Amnon Altman Ph.D., has tenaciously done research on how T lymphocytes cells
spring into action when they encounter an infected cell. This has
turned up several important findings, most notably the discovery of an
enzyme – protein
kinase C theta, which may hold the key to controlling immune response. "If
we understand the process of T cell activation, it will allow us to
rationally design treatments aimed at either boosting an immune
response, such as to fight cancer, or to suppress an unwanted immune
attack on normal cells, which occurs in autoimmune disease."
BREAKTHROUGH: OX40 Ligand in Asthma
A major asthma discovery by a researcher at the La Jolla
Institute for Allergy & Immunology has been licensed by MedImmune,
a leading innovation-focused biotechnology company and wholly owned
subsidiary of AstraZeneca PLC. MedImmune licensed the discovery to
explore its use in the development of a potential biologics drug for
treating asthma. Under the agreement, MedImmune was granted exclusive intellectual
property rights to the discovery, which demonstrated the pivotal role
of a protein called the OX40 ligand in asthma. The finding was made by
the laboratory of La Jolla Institute scientist Michael Croft, Ph.D.,
and marked a major milestone in asthma research.
Allergy & Asthma Research
Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, crohn's disease and more...
Understanding how to turn off an immune system attack might seem an unusual goal. After all, most immune onslaughts are aimed at viruses, bacteria or other biological invaders to the body. But what if the immune system's attack is aimed at healthy cells, such as in autoimmune disease? Then the immune 'off switch' becomes very important.
BREAKTHROUGH: La Jolla Institute Researchers Provide World's First View of Type 1 Diabetes As-It-Unfolds: Cellular movies could greatly enhance search for type 1 disease interventions Learn More
BREAKTHROUGH: A Cure for Type 1 Diabetes
Matthias von Herrath, M.D., is edging closer to a goal - a cure for type 1 diabetes. Von Herrath and his fellow researchers' development of a combination therapy is showing significant promise in type 1 diabetes when caught in the early stages. The therapy is headed for human clinical trials in 2008.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States today. At the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, researchers are working to defeat cancer by finding ways to boost the disease-fighting power of the immune system. When Stephen Schoenberger, Ph.D., studies lymphomas and leukemias, he doesn't see an insurmountable scientific challenge, he sees hope. " I genuinely believe these are cancers we can do something about," said Schoenberger, adding that he was drawn to the research because he could see "real possibilities" for solving the biological paradox of blood cancers.
BREAKTHROUGH: Tumor Suppressor
La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology researchers studying an
enzyme believed to play a role in allergy onset, instead have
discovered its previously unknown role as a tumor suppressor that may
be important in myeloproliferative diseases and some types of lymphoma
and leukemia. Myeloproliferative diseases are a group of disorders
characterized by an overproduction of blood cells by the bone marrow
and include chronic myeloid leukemia. Lymphoma and leukemia are
cancers of the blood.
"PLC-beta 3 is an enzyme, but the function we found was a completely
different function that no one knew it had -- as a tumor suppressor,"
said the La Jolla Institute's Toshiaki Kawakami, M.D., Ph.D.,
who led the research team. The study, conducted in animal models,
could eventually lead to the development of new therapies directed
towards controlling this newly discovered cellular mechanism.
“Fascination” is what drives Hilde Cheroutre, Ph.D., in her quest to uncover the biological mysteries of the small and large intestines, and which has led her to the international forefront of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and celiac disease (CD) research. People suffering from those diseases experience symptoms ranging from abdominal pain to intestinal bleeding, and sometimes life-threatening complications.
BREAKTHROUGH: Mechanism of Inflammation
La Jolla Institute Scientist Discovers Key Step in Immune System-Fueled Inflammation:
Novel Mechanism Plays Major Role in Inflammation Learn More
BREAKTHROUGH: Preventing Infection
La Jolla Institute Researchers Discover Novel Mechanism for
Preventing Infection Via the Gut and Other Mucosal Borders: Discovery could lead to new and better vaccines for Listeria, HIV and other pathogens Learn More
BREAKTHROUGH: Fighting Inflammation
A discovery by Hilde Cheroutre, Ph.D., a leading La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology biomedical researcher, was chosen by "Nature Medicine" magazine as one of the 10 most important advances in the biomedical field in 2007. The Institute’s finding demonstrated the role of a Vitamin A derivative, retinoic acid, in fighting inflammation. It was originally published in the journal Science in June 2007. The finding is an important first step that could point to the potential of new therapies using retinoic acid, already used to treat some types of leukemia, to treat various inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Inflammation Biology Research