Research Achievements

National Jewish Health is responsible for many important scientific advances, including:

  • IgE, the molecule responsible for allergic reactions. This discovery has become the basis for many new treatments for asthma and allergies.
  • The T-cell receptor gene, which plays a crucial role in recognizing foreign invaders and orchestrating an immune response. It opened the door to understanding how bodies fight viruses, bacteria and cancer.
  • Superantigens, extremely powerful bacterial toxins associated with particularly virulent diseases, such as toxic shock syndrome and Legionnaire’s disease.
  • Combined chemotherapy for tuberculosis. National Jewish Health physicians were among the leaders in developing this crucial tool for fighting tuberculosis.
  • Culture medium for tuberculosis. A low-cost medium to grow tuberculosis organisms, which could make evaluation of drug-resistance possible in many of the hardest hit nations.
  • Proteins that slow the growth of cancer tumors by preventing the growth of blood vessels necessary for their growth and survival. The discovery could lead to new therapies for cancer.
  • Mechanisms of apoptosis. Pioneering efforts have helped understand how the body effectively removes and recycles up to two billion cells a day and resolves inflammation in the lung.
  • Immune response trigger. Research at National Jewish Health revealed exactly what triggers the adaptive immune response: fragments of proteins from invading organisms bound to and presented by MHC molecules. 
  • The immunological synapse, a complex and long-lived connection between immune-system cells that greatly influences the immune response.
  • New family of anti-viral agents. A naturally occurring lipid fights viral infections in the lungs and the inflammation associated with them.
  • Methamphetamine hazards. Groundbreaking research identified hazardous chemical exposures associated with clandestine methamphetamine laboratories.
  • Breast cancer inhibitor. A protein known as cdk6 is low in breast cancer cells, and is being investigated as a potential tool for diagnosing breast cancer and as a therapy to fight it.
  • The protein CD203c, is discovered to be an effective marker for chronic urticaria (hives); National Jewish Health received a patent in 2010 for the test it developed based on this discovery.


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Faculty by Research

The discoveries made in the laboratories at National Jewish Health have a profound impact on the understanding and treatment of human disease.

Browse our Faculty by Area of Research.