Akira Innate Immunity Project

Shizuo Akira (Director, Osaka University)

ERATO(2002-2007) ERATO
Clarification of the role of TLR proteins and their signaling mechanisms
Developing medicine to treat cancer, pollen allergies, atopy, etc.

Research Overview
With regard to TLRs (toll-like receptors) that sense invading pathogens and cause host defenses in the immunological system that humans innately possess (innate immunity), questions as to the TLR-depending recognition of the pathogen and the signal transduction of the immune responses have been tackled. TLRs have been found to activate not only innate immunity but also the mechanism that prevents the reentry of previously infected pathogens (acquired immunity).

Impact of Research Achievements
Research and development on drugs that target the natural immune system are now underway.
レ Some drugs to treat herpes and other infections have been put into practical use.
レ R&D and clinical trials on drugs for cancer, asthma/allergies and immunostimulants have been started by bio-venture companies in Europe and the US. For example, clinical trials regarding immunity-enhancing effects on solid tumors are underway at Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Director Akira was chosen two years in a row as the hottest scientist whose articles were most frequently cited in the world in a survey conducted by Thomson Scientific.

For comprehensive understanding of innate immune system