The Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) (http://www.immunetolerance.org) is a collaborative network of 40 research institutions that addresses clinical trials in kidney and islet transplantation, clinical trials in autoimmune disease, development of tolerance assays, and clinical trials in asthma and allergic diseases. The ITN is a public-private partnership with funding support provided by two NIH Institutes and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The network is designed to solicit, develop, implement, and assess clinical strategies and biological assays for the purposes of inducing, maintaining, and monitoring tolerance in humans for these conditions. The network encompasses two different components: (1) clinical trials and mechanistic studies in kidney and islet transplantation, autoimmune disease, and asthma and allergic disease and (2) development and validation of assays to measure the induction, maintenance, and/or loss of immune tolerance in humans. Diseases currently under investigation include type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Core assay facilities currently include a polymerase chain reaction-based gene expression and polymorphisms core, a pharmacogenomics and microarry core, a mixed histocompatability complex-peptide complex core, and a cell-based tolerance assay core. The ultimate goal is to make as much of the information public as is possible, although the network is still addressing this issue. Administrative mechanisms also exist within the ITN for private-interest collaborations in the research initiatives.
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