One can hardly read even general news accounts about medicine today without encountering the human immune system.
Several years ago, UCLA physicians reported the results of clinical trials showing that they could stop advanced, previously incurable melanoma by stoking the natural ability of immune cells to find and fight cancer. Ever since, immunity has become the buzzword in laboratories worldwide.
It’s about time.
At UCLA, our researchers say that there may not be a disease known to humankind that does not involve one aspect of the immune system or another.
That is why a wide range of investigators from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have made the immune system the driver of their scientific investigations. They believe the future of medicine depends on it.
They also believe that cross-pollination among experts in a number of fields — both clinical and bench side — will be key to successfully decoding the complex interactions that occur among genes, the human environment and immunity and its powerful tool, inflammation.
Day in and day out the immune system keeps us alive. It’s the head of the body’s household. It protects all organs, the blood system, the lymph nodes, and the skin — all of the body — against certain devastation. It keeps cancer at bay, microbes in their place, and inflammation in check.
When it goes awry — too much or too little immune surveillance — the body suffers. Tumors grow when they acquire strategies to turn immunity off. Infectious diseases learn to hide within cells to strike another day.
An immune system in constant battle leads to:
UCLA investigators have established specific aims and goals to guide innovative, biomedical discovery-based research on:
Our investigators call this I3T and their sense of discovery and destination is palpable. Their ideas extend from the molecular to the social, from the broad 35,000-foot all-encompassing view to those “aha” bench breakthroughs.
The I3T vision says it all: “Harness the body’s immune system to revolutionize medicine and transform health.”