Overview

Isolated eosinophils

Isolated eosinophils were incubated in tissue culture wells coated with model tissue matrix proteins. Note that eosinophils use digestive enzymes and make a "hole" in the matrix during migration. Thus, the inflammatory process during immune response is often damaging to the host.

In recent years, researchers have made enormous advances in understanding how the normal immune system functions and in how dysregulated immune pathways contribute to many diseases. In various subspecialties of medicine, there are recognized disease states related to failings of the immune system. For example, a dysregulated immune response to exogenous antigens in the airway is associated with the development of bronchial asthma. Abnormal immune and inflammatory processes in the blood vessels are critically involved in atherosclerosis. Furthermore, susceptibility of the elderly to cancer and infection can be attributed to a collapse of immune protection.

The Clinical Immunology and Immunotherapeutics Program (CIIP) is dedicated to advancing translational research in understanding and treating immune-based diseases, to providing a structure for education in clinical immunology, and to stimulating practice innovations.

Why CIIP is important for Mayo’s mission

The Mayo model of clinical care is an integrated practice and a seamless interaction between translational research and clinical practice. The concept of the CIIP is important to facilitate the transition between research and clinical practice. Clinical immunology is an important participant in several fields of medicine. Traditional disciplines, which narrowly focus on their own specialty, may not seize newly emerging opportunities and may lose their preeminence. Mayo must invest in the future to remain a national and international health resource that offers the most advanced diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of inflammatory and immunological diseases. Mayo needs a concerted and focused effort to identify and support new priorities in clinical immunology and to develop new multidisciplinary, patient-oriented and problem-focused approaches.

The goals of CIIP

  • To establish the best research program dedicated to translational research for immune-mediated diseases
  • To expand the scope of clinical immunology from classic areas (e.g., autoimmunity, allergy, and transplantation) to emerging fields (e.g., immunosenescence and immunotherapy)
  • To develop novel approaches for immunosuppression, modulation, reconstitution, and monitoring
  • To promote collaborative research activities within the Department of Medicine and Mayo Clinic, and with other institutions and industry partners

What CIIP will do

Advance clinical practice

  • CIIP consists of clinicians and investigators from all the divisions in the Department of Medicine (DOM) who manage patients with immune-mediated diseases (e.g., connective tissue diseases, vasculitis, bronchial asthma, immune-mediated endocrine disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, certain hematological disorders, infectious diseases, immunodeficiency diseases, organ transplantation). CIIP will serve as a resource for physicians and researchers within the Mayo Clinic as well as physicians wanting to refer patients to the Mayo Clinic.
  • Currently, therapeutics used to treat chronic inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases critically compromise the function of the immune system. At present, novel therapeutic approaches targeted at specific molecules and mediators of the immune system are being introduced into every discipline of medicine. Numerous new therapeutic agents will become available in the near future. CIIP will facilitate the cross-disciplinary approaches necessary to optimize the increasing use of such immune therapeutics and to monitor the status of the patients' immune systems during therapy.
  • Use the CIIP Web site to increase visibility and to facilitate the exchange of ideas and opportunities.

Advance research

  • Promote research in clinical immunology by providing research support for specific clinical immunology projects.
  • Bring together investigators (CER, CI, and CS) with common interests, facilitate the exchange of ideas and resources, and promote synergy among the investigators.
  • Provide a resource for junior or new faculty at Mayo who want to conduct research in the immunological sciences.
  • Foster collaborative projects with other programs within the DOM, particularly the aging program and the immunovirology program, and seek opportunities to work together with other departments in Mayo, such as, but limited to, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine and Pathology.

Advance education

  • Start a seminar series of clinical immunology topics by bringing in conceptual leaders in clinical immunology and immunotherapeutics.
  • Offer students, residents, and fellows opportunities for laboratory-based training in clinical immunology.
  • Organize a Mayo Clinical Immunology Symposium once every 1-2 years.

Funding for CIIP

CIIP is currently funded by individual R01 grants and by existing institutional training grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Dana Foundation Program in Human Immunology, the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (see below), and the DOM. CIIP is seeking more funding opportunities through philanthropy, new training grants, and, ultimately, program project grants.

The Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies

The Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS) is an international society that provides

  • A scientific forum to foster the cross-disciplinary approaches required to understand and to treat immune-based diseases, as the discipline of clinical immunology evolves
  • A better understanding of the shared pathophysiological underpinnings of clinical immunology and the new therapeutic approaches suggested by these novel relationships, including the increasingly widespread use of biologics in therapy
  • A forum for education of trainees, physicians, patients and the public in the discipline of clinical immunology
  • Advocacy in public policy issues

FOCIS has 21 Member Societies and six Affiliate Societies, representing approximately 30,000 clinician scientists. FOCIS has selected a few centers in the United States, including Mayo, as national leaders in clinical and translational immunology. With this designation, CIIP shares a national leadership role and responsibility to promote clinical immunology as a new area of clinical practice, research, and education.

Mission

The Clinical Immunology and Immunotherapeutics Program (CIIP) will provide the best science and patient care for immune-mediated disorders through integrated clinical practice, education, and research.

Goals

  • To establish the best research program dedicated to translational research for immune-mediated diseases
  • To expand the scope of clinical immunology from classic areas (e.g., autoimmunity, allergy, and transplantation) to emerging fields (e.g., immunosenescence and immunotherapy)
  • To develop novel approaches for immunosuppression, modulation, reconstitution, and monitoring
  • To promote collaborative research activities within the Department of Medicine and Mayo Clinic, and with other institutions and industry partners