Center for Biodefense of Immunocompromised Patients
The Rochester Center for the Biodefense of Immunocompromised Populations at the University of Rochester Medical Center is one of 10 centers funded nationwide by the NIAID to identify biological mechanisms responsible for increased susceptibility to infection or decreased effectiveness of vaccines in children, elderly, and immunocompromised populations, as well as testing of treatments designed to increase vaccine safety or efficacy.
In the event of a bioterrorist attack, immunocompromised patients, who prominently include autoimmune patients subject to therapeutic immunosuppression, will be at a very high risk. Therefore, there is a clear need to identify the specific immune defects that make these populations especially susceptible. One of the more prevalent forms of immunosuppresion used for a growing number of autoimmune conditions is chronic blockade of Tumor Necrosis Factor α (TNF). It is expected that in the near future candidates for this type of therapy will include several million American citizens.
The Rochester Center for the Biodefense of Immunocompromised Populations, lead by Drs. Igñacio Sanz (Director) and James Kobie (Co-Director), is identifying defective mechanisms of immune response in patients treated with TNFα blockade (anti-TNF). Through this highly collaborative study we are developing novel methodologies and analysis techniques that are facilitating a comprehensive series of studies of immune homeostasis and function. We are determining mechanisms of defective B-cell, T cell, and Dendritic cell function in patients treated with anti-TNF. We are developing a bioreactor system for the study of human immune function. We are building a discrete event stochastic model of B cell function in silico to formulate and test hypotheses regarding mechanism.