Immunology is an interdisciplinary science at the heart of much translational research. With the present COVID-19 issue affecting us all, immunology research is more crucial than ever. Many of the world’s major diseases—infection, cancer, autoimmunity, and allergy—involve the immune system.
Continued progress in understanding the immune system is required to develop new capacities to treat and prevent illnesses that impact millions of people throughout the world. Although federal financing for biomedical research has expanded significantly over the last decade, funding has been steady over the last three years, resulting in a decline in ‘buying power in the face of around 3% biomedical research inflation. These financial limits come at a time of significant development and excitement in the science of immunology. This post discusses specific immunology research prospects and the obstacles to executing a broad immunology research agenda in an era of fiscal restriction.
The benefits of immune system research
The immune system is our army, not only guarding us against bacterial and viral invaders but also recognizing and killing malignant cancer cells. However, like any other system, the immune system can malfunction and wrongly perceive our bodies, as well as innocent food or everyday items, as targets, resulting in autoimmune disorders and allergies. Immune cells also have less-appreciated functions in health maintenance, such as regulating weight growth in obesity, regulating the “microbiome” in the intestine and affecting the outcome of multiple diseases. It is a fascinatingly complicated system made of dozens of cell types interacting through hundreds of distinct messenger molecules, all of which have impacted many external factors such as stress, nutrition, gender, aging, and hours of sleep.
Future directions of research in immunobiology
Immunobiology looks to have a bright future. Jenner and Pasteur’s early achievements with identification of bacteria and vaccination paved the ground for the fantastic blooming of immunobiology in the twentieth century. One of the critical challenges is whether immunologists will be able to figure out how to truly comprehend the immune system and understand its role in regulating many physiological processes in the human body.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has gained recognition for its research in immunology in recent years.
Dr. Paul E. Love, an NIH researcher based in Bethesda, Maryland, investigates whether human T Cell Receptor (TCR) signaling components and TCR signal-altering proteins might be modified to improve immunotherapy for autoimmune disease and cancer. His studies, which might lead to landmark improvements in immunotherapy, focus on the signaling apparatus of the TCR, the receptor responsible for activating T cells, which play essential roles in pathogen resistance and tumor monitoring. Dr. Love has over 31 years of expertise as a researcher. He specializes in immunology and has many accomplishments in fundamental science and medicine.
His applied research employs core primary research results to benefit public health, primarily by applying fundamental discoveries to treat human ailments. Identifying checkpoint molecules like Ctla4, PD-1, and PD-L1, which are utilized to reduce or block cell-T activation, is an example of applied research. Blocking checkpoint molecules was proven in basic research in mice to lead to increased tumor death by T lymphocytes. This innovation has changed human cancer treatment and contributed to creating immunotherapy as a contemporary and fascinating field of medicine. Part of Dr. Loves’ current research is to identify other molecules that act similar to checkpoint proteins.
Understanding how the immune system functions in health and illness is a difficult task, but we can only get closer to this objective if immunologists worldwide work together and funding for this important research is continued. The study of the immune response will be critical in getting us through future challenges such as the COVID-19 epidemic as quickly and effectively as possible and preparing us for new as yet unanticipated health threats.