Inflammation is the body’s basic response to a variety of external or internal insults, such as infectious agents, physical injury, hypoxia, or disease processes in nearly any organ or tissue in the body. Inflammation entails the four well-known symptoms—redness, heat, tenderness/pain and swelling—that characterize so many common diseases and conditions.
How our research helps improve health
Chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes, affect more than 50 million Americans. Many of these diseases are debilitating and are becoming increasingly common in our aging society.
In Sanford-Burnham’s Inflammatory Disease Research Program, researchers have had significant success in identifying a gene variant associated with type 1 diabetes. This finding has now been expanded into rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Other contributions include discoveries about specific genes and enzymes related to human disease, including infectious with the bacterium that causes anthrax.