Recent advances in immunology research have uncovered extensive and amazing knowledge of how many cells and other factors of the immune system identify antigens and diseased cells. However, there remain many gaps in knowledge, and filling these will help achieve even more impactful breakthroughs in the immunotherapy and vaccine arena. The Human Vaccines Project is a nonprofit organization with the goal to contribute to the development of vaccines and immunotherapies by understanding the human immune system at a deeper level.
In addition to developing treatments for infectious and neoplastic diseases that have a global impact on human health, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) are in much need of personalized or precision medical approaches for prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment. Armed with the newest basic science immunology information, novel approaches to immunotherapy are ongoing. However, keys to unlock the unknown facets of immune system mechanisms would benefit medical research in MS and other autoimmune disorders.
Recent developments in genome science have helped reveal patient factors that affect differential susceptibility to disease and responses to various types of medical treatments. Studies that are part of the Human Vaccine Project’s Human Immunome Program are aimed at improving understanding of human immune system mechanisms so that more effective and safer vaccines can be developed. One way this is being done is by harnessing the technology of next-generation sequencing of genomic material in human cord blood. Immune cells from human cord blood are studied for their ability to fight cancer cells and lessen the risk of graft-versus-host disease.
In the case of MS research, studying the genome of immune cells from human cord blood can provide valuable information for understanding factors that may prevent the development of MS, support the discovery of biomarkers for early diagnosis, and the development of effective treatments. Research data already exists regarding the restoration of immune system balance by stems cells derived from human cord blood. Advancing genome, cellular, and informatics technology provide an ever-growing body of knowledge that benefits immunology medical science.
Yang, H., Sun, J., Wang, F., Li, Y., Bi, J., & Qu, T. (2016). Umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells reversed the suppressive deficiency of T regulatory cells from peripheral blood of patients with multiple sclerosis in a co-culture – a preliminary study. Oncotarget. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.12345