Immunotherapy Research is Rebooting Seattle's Biotech Sector


Immunotherapy is being applied to a multitude of diseases, such as leukemia, melanoma, lupus and Graves’ disease. At the Benaroya Research Institute (BRI) at Virginia Mason, scientists are using immunotherapy to target type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Gerald Nepom started the immunology program at BRI in 1985, and this year, the National Institutes of Health asked him to lead the Immune Tolerance Network, a global effort across 250 research sites to develop ways to “reprogram” the immune system, preventing the immune responses that lead to diseases such as asthma and diabetes while still maintaining the body’s ability to fight infection. For the next seven years, the network will be headquartered at BRI, which will receive $27 million annually in support funding. “[Immunotherapy] is becoming big science,” says Homer Lane, executive director at BRI. “It needs a lot of people to work together.” Read more

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