The immune system is a complex set of cells and tissues that protect us from harmful invaders, such as a cold virus or bacteria. When the immune system recognizes a foreign organism, it mounts an inflammatory reaction that destroys the invader. Sometimes, however, this system goes wrong, and the immune system mistakes our own cells as foreign and repeatedly attacks them – this is called autoimmunity. Although the precise cause of these diseases remains unclear, there is strong evidence that both a genetic predisposition and environmental factors play a role.
Feinstein Institute researchers are focusing on two major types of autoimmune diseases: arthritis and lupus. They are extensively researching risk genes for these disorders and developing novel therapies to treat them.
Feinstein Institute investigators studying autoimmune diseases include Yousef Al-Abed; Cynthia Aranow; Ona E. Bloom; Anne Davidson; Betty Diamond; Richard Alan Furie; Peter K. Gregersen; Patricio T. Huerta; Tanisha Anne Jackson; Annette T. Lee; Meggan Mackay; Kim R. Simpfendorfer; Kevin J. Tracey; Haichao Wang and Yon-Rui Zou.