Innate Immunity in Alzheimer's Disease

Study code

Lead researcher
Professor Ken Smith

Study type

Institution or company
University of Cambridge

Researcher type

Speciality area
Dementias and Neurodegeneration

Recruitment Site


This study is based on factors that affect the regulation of the immune system. The immune system has the complex task of protecting the body against infectious organisms without attacking its own tissues. Without a well functioning immune system we are susceptible to a vast array of viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. However, when the immune system acts against the body it can cause important "autoimmune" diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Genetic variation between individuals can affect the way their immune system responds to infections, and may predispose some individuals to autoimmune disease. In addition, genetic variation may affect the way the immune system is affected by immune suppressant drugs, as well as the likelihood of rejection after a transplant.

We plan to study the way the immune system responds to stimuli including infectious organisms and immune complexes. In particular, we wish to further investigate how genetic differences between individuals affect the way their white blood cells respond under a number of conditions. We hope a better understanding of how genetic variation affects immune responses will lead to new ways to treat infections, transplant rejection and autoimmune disease.


Participation: For this study we recruited 35 participants from the Cambridge BioResource to give a single blood sample. 

Organisation: This study is organised by Professor Ken Smith at the Department of Medicine in the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research situated on the Addenbrooke’s hospital site in Cambridge.