2022 September 20

The study on the interconnection of the immune system receives the support from the CaixaResearch 2022 Program

Dr. Esteban Ballestar, head of the Epigenetics and Immune Disease Group at the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute, has received the support from the CaixaResearch Health 2022 program of "la Caixa" Foundation to develop a project with the aim of better understanding the immune system elements’ interconnection, which is a key aspect of its proper functioning.

The CaixaResearch Health 2022 call, endorsed by "la Caixa" Foundation, has selected 33 new promising biomedical and health research centers and universities in Spain and Portugal. With this initiative, "la Caixa" Foundation once again reaffirms its support for projects of excellence that can have a positive impact on citizens’ health.

The immune system is the body's defense system that fights against infections. In most cases it is very effective and protects us from diseases. However, there are individuals who are born with immunodeficiencies that make them much more vulnerable to diseases caused by pathogens, either because they have an insufficient number of immune cells or because they are defective. Studying these individuals provides a better understanding on how the immune system works and how it organizes its responses to possible aggressions.

In this project, researchers at the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute, led by Dr. Ballestar, will create a map of the immune cells and their interactions with each other. They will focus on a primary immunodeficiency, the Common Variable Immunodeficiency, which causes severe and recurrent intestinal and respiratory infections for which patients need antibody-replacement therapy.

The goal is to better understand how the immune cells dialogue between each other when orchestrating an effective response against a threat. The results of this project, which will help to know more about the components and communication of the immune response, will provide new tools to improve the medical care and quality of life of patients with immunodeficiencies.