Why BRI is a Global Leader in Immune System Research
One in 20 Americans suffers from an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis or type 1 diabetes. Treating these patients was a founding goal of the immunology program at Benaroya Research Institute (BRI), which began 30 years ago under the guidance of Dr. Gerald Nepom. Now BRI is a global leader in immune system research, and in 2014 became the home of the Immune Tolerance Network, an international clinical research consortium with 178 sites worldwide.
Some of the most dazzling findings at BRI deal with T cells, a type of white blood cell that plays a central role in the immune system. T cells are one of the main cell types involved in adaptive immunity, which allows the body to tailor its defenses to specific invaders. Autoimmune diseases cause that sensitive system to attack healthy cells. Unraveling the role of T cells in that reaction is a critical piece of finding successful treatments.