Appointment of Pere Santamaria, Group leader
Discoveries come to those who dare to accept their own ignorance

Current research

Problem

Autoimmune diseases include a wide range of disorders characterised by the immune system attacking a group of cells in the body. Unfortunately, there is currently no treatment available to cure such diseases. The group’s work is focused on understanding immunopathogenesis and immunogenetics in autoimmune diseases, and one of its primary objectives is to explore the endogenous self-tolerance mechanisms that block autoimmunity.

Approach

The group has been able to combine its knowledge of nanotechnology and immunological regulation. This has given rise to a new methodology for specifically blocking autoimmune responses: i.e., without blocking the normal responses of the immune system.

Impact

The group aims to find targets for therapeutic intervention in autoimmune diseases. Within this context, and thanks to the studies conducted, the group has developed an antigen-specific therapeutic platform. This nanotechnology-based tool has major therapeutic potential that has already been validated in mice, where it has proven possible to combat the body’s specific autoimmune response without endangering its systemic immunity. Now the aim is to apply this new technology to clinical practice.