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Understanding Autoimmune Diseases, Including Autoimmune Thyroid Conditions
What Autoimmune Diseases and Research is Under Way, Including Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

Adapted by Mary Shomon

What Research Is Under Way on Autoimmune Diseases?

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) supports research studies on the function of the immune system in various diseases. A basic understanding of the human immune system is central to the understanding of the development of an autoimmune disease (disease pathogenesis). Scientists searching for ways to prevent and treat autoimmune disease are studying disease pathogenesis and investigating new ways to modify the immune system.

Specifically, investigators supported by NIAID are focusing on: 1) studies of the immune system during the progression of an autoimmune disease; 2) analysis of the influence of genetics on autoimmune disease expression and progression; 3) the role of infectious agents in autoimmune diseases; 4) studies of animal models of autoimmune diseases; and 5) the effects of therapeutic intervention on the immune system in an autoimmune disease.

In addition, studies of a specific autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis can provide new and additional insights into the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases affecting other organ systems. Therefore, NIAID also supports studies on specific autoimmune diseases in cooperation with other Institutes of the National Institutes of Health that focus on organ-specific autoimmune diseases.

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