> La Jolla Institute for Immunology

One of the Leading Immunology-Focused Independent Research Institutions in the World

La Jolla Institute for Immunology is one of the leading immunology-focused independent research institutions in the world. Our researchers are dedicated to studying the immune system because no other biomedical discipline has greater power to treat and prevent diseases from A—Z, from Alzheimer’s to Zika.

What sets La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) apart can be summed up in a single word: Focus.

The immune system is the centerpiece of our research. A greater understanding of the immune system packs the potential to prevent, treat, and even cure, diseases such as cancer, infectious diseases and the many diseases related to chronic inflammation and autoimmunity.

At La Jolla Institute for Immunology, 21 world leaders in immunology research— handpicked for their pioneering spirit, creativity and collaborative approach— head independent laboratories that work on understanding different aspects of the immune system using the latest biomedical research tools and technologies.

To fight cancer, LJI scientists are on the forefront of generating personalized cancer vaccines. One of the most exciting recent developments in medical research has been the realization that the disease-fighting power of our immune system may be deployed to combat cancer. Our researchers have made fundamental discoveries on the immune response to cancer cells and why these responses are not always effective. Several labs working together have developed an improved method of identifying mutated cancer proteins that can stimulate a protective anti-cancer response. Clinical trials testing personalized cancer vaccines based on these findings are currently underway in close collaboration with the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Infectious diseases remain among the leading killers worldwide. LJI is pioneering new vaccines for infectious diseases that have proven to be resistant to vaccination such as HIV, dengue, Zika and others. LJI scientists discovered a crucial cell type responsible for promoting lifelong protection and the molecular switch activating it. These findings were instrumental in bringing novel HIV vaccine candidates into clinical trials.

The Institute is also breaking new ground in the treatment of infl ammatory and autoimmune diseases. For example, several labs collaborate on in-depth investigations of a family of molecules called TNF proteins, some of which were discovered here. Groundbreaking research on the function of these proteins is leading to the development of biologic drugs in clinical trials for the treatment of asthma, infl ammatory bowel disease, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

In an unexpected twist, LJI scientists found a new target for attacking Parkinson’s disease. The cause of this neurodegenerative disease is unknown, but researchers at the Institute found the fi rst direct evidence that Parkinson’s may be an autoimmune disorder mediated by T cells. They discovered that Parkinson’s patients have an increased T cell immune response to a brain protein. This raises the possibility that Parkinson’s could be prevented by therapies that dampen this unwanted immune response.

Additional research programs bridge these three principal areas. Atherosclerosis is an infl ammatory disease caused by the action of white blood cells in the arteries. Taking an unconventional approach, LJI researchers are developing a therapeutic vaccine to prevent the activity of white blood cells. The prototype decreased arterial plaques in mice even when the animals were put on an artery-clogging high fat diet. These proof-of-concept studies encourage us to work on a human atherosclerosis vaccine to prevent heart attacks, a leading killer world-wide.

LJI is also a global technology leader in the big data revolution that will transform human health. The Institute has developed one-of-a-kind tools for the world that analyze the human immune response to cancer, microbes, allergens and other agents that stimulate the immune system. It contains information on nearly half a million molecules with information from 20,000 papers and software that has been licensed by 36 companies. Based on data generated at the Institute, LJI has created a similar database for understanding how our genetic differences affect the human immune response, which will provide unparalleled insight into autoimmune diseases and cancer.

These are just a few examples of how research by LJI scientists is changing the way we view and treat disease. As a result, the research contributions of scientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology regularly earn them a spot among “The World’s Most Infl uential Minds”, an honor given to the top 1% of most frequently cited authors of scientifi c publications.

As our understanding of immunology advances, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the future of human health depends on how well we can harness the power of our immune system to fi ght infection, cancer and autoimmune diseases, and put it back on course when it strays. Widely recognized as one of the world’s most infl uential centers for immunology research, La Jolla Institute for Immunology is making big strides toward Life Without Disease®.

La Jolla Institute for Immunology

+1 (858) 752-6500
9420 Athena Circle
La Jolla, CA 92037

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