Immune Tolerance Network

Immune Tolerance NetworkBenaroya Research Institute leads the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN), a collaborative network for clinical research, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In 2010, BRI Member Gerald Nepom, MD, PhD, was named director of the ITN and in early 2021, BRI was awarded its second seven year grant of a $27 million annually to provide management and oversight of the Network and fund the ITN’s development, coordination and implementation of international clinical trials for novel therapies and mechanistic, laboratory-based studies in immune tolerance. The ITN grant is one of the largest NIH awards made to any institution and is a significant recognition of the stature of BRI in the research community.

The ITN is focused on the development of therapeutic approaches for asthma and allergy, autoimmune diseases, type 1 diabetes and solid organ transplantation that lead to immune tolerance. ITN’s approaches aim to reprogram the immune system so that disease-causing immune responses are stopped while maintaining the immune system's ability to combat pathogen infection.


The ITN is also a leading innovator in clinical transparency, as well as data and sample sharing through TrialShare, an online resource that provides access to underlying data, analyses and samples from ITN’s clinical trials. The TrialShare web portal addresses a critical gap in data sharing, making information from research studies fully available so that results can be verified and extended.

ITN Leadership

Gerald Nepom, MD, PhD, Network Director

Mary Roy, Administrative Director

BRI Scientists Involved in ITN Research

Estelle Bettelli, PhD
Jane Buckner, MD
Philip Bernstein, PhD
Daniel J. Campbell, PhD
Karen Cerosaletti, PhD
Vivian Gersuk, PhD
Carla J. Greenbaum, MD
Eddie James, PhD
William Kwok, PhD
Peter Linsley, PhD
S. Alice Long, PhD
Charlie Quinn
Erik Wambre, PhD
Steven F. Ziegler, PhD

Key Accomplishments of ITN

  • Demonstrated that high dose immunosuppressive therapy combined with autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation effective for inducing long-term sustained remission of MS through 5 years after transplant [Neurology. 2017]
  • Showed that operationally tolerant pediatric liver transplant recipients maintain generally stable allograft histology in spite of apparently active humoral allo‐immune responses. [Hepatology. 2017]

  • Provided conclusive evidence that early consumption of peanut by high-risk infants prevents the development of peanut allergy even after cessation of consumption [New Engl J Med. 2015; 2016]

  • Successfully completed the world’s first multicenter clinical trial of a standardized protocol for islet cell transplantation for type 1 diabetes [New Engl J Med, 2006]

  • Established the efficacy of rituximab for ANCA-associated vasculitis, providing justification for FDA approval in 2010 [New Engl J Med, 2010]

  • Established proof-of-concept that a novel anti-CD3 drug could preserve beta cell function in recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes patients for over five years [Clin Immunol, 2009]

  • Discovered a unique genetic signature in transplant patients that may indicate a propensity for tolerance [J Clin Invest, 2010]

  • Showed that up to 60 percent of selected pediatric liver transplant recipients may safely discontinue all immunosuppression in a closely supervised manner, without transplant rejection [JAMA, 2012]

  • Demonstrated that combined bone marrow and kidney transplant can induce long-term tolerance with no need for ongoing immunosuppression in HLA-mismatched recipients [New Engl J Med, 2008]