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 oral food challenge was designed and introduced in the 1970s by our physician scientists. This became, and remains, the accepted “gold standard” for diagnosing food allergies.
- Food allergy research became evidence-based, thanks to our pioneering researchers —
at a time when the medical community was skeptical about the relevance of food 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 doctors 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.
- Genetic roots of pulmonary fibrosis. A team led by researchers at National Jewish Health discovered genetic mutations that increase the risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis by 7 to 22 times, offering insight into the origins and possible treatments for this devastating disease.
- Food allergy cure. In several trials, patients have been desensitized to allergenic foods through repeated exposure to small amounts of the food or its proteins. Still in clinical trials.
- Allergies to artificial joints. Researchers have developed a blood test that can detect allergy to nickel used in artificial joints, a common cause of failure.