Inflammation, infection and immunotherapeutics

Differences in granularity of control (LHS) and Nbeal2-deficient (RHS) neutrophils

The immune system is a complex system in the body that ‘seeks and destroys’ invaders and protects us against infection. When it doesn’t work properly it can lead to autoimmune and inflammatory disease.

An autoimmune disease is when the body is attacked by its own immune system; this also happens in inflammatory disease, causing abnormal inflammation and illness.

The immune system is now seen as an important factor (or mediator) contributing to the changes we see in many conditions such as psychosis and dementia, which are not ‘traditional’ autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Indeed, the immune system has such a big impact on many diseases that we call this theme ‘cross-cutting’, which means that our researchers work with (or cut across) other themes we cover.

We believe this could have a potentially huge impact, like the one we are starting to see in cancer, where immunotherapy (a treatment that uses part of the immune system to fight disease) is now an important part of treating some types of cancer, including previously untreatable ones.