“The Pandemic Is Not Over” For Immunologists

Photography: Juanma Serrano

In this edition of the School of Immunology and Immunotherapy of the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP) the epidemic occupies less space than in previous editions, but we continue to learn from it. “Never have so many people been vaccinated, never have so many people been infected by a virus in such a short period of time, and we’re still learning from that, we still have a lot of work to do, for immunologists.” Covid has not happened, although it has from a social point of view”, explained Marcos López-Hoyos, President of the Spanish Society of Immunology (SEI) and Director of the Valdecilla Research Institute (IDIVAL).

López-Hoyos and Africa González, Professor of Immunology at the University of Vigo, spoke at Santander about the latest advances in this field, what can be expected in the near future in the specialization and also about the importance of studying diseases. Animal models to continue to advance life-saving therapies.

In a meeting with the media, he spoke about the great contribution of monoclonal antibodies in the field of oncology, which awaken the immune response that ‘numbs’ tumors in their environment.

“Patients on whom all treatments were ineffective, with these treatments, are being cured of different types of cancer, we are actually living a very sweet moment for immunology” indicated Gonzalez.

Currently, more than 500 monoclonal antibodies are being studied for various diseases, including macular degeneration, autoimmune pathologies, migraines, hypercholesterolemia, Alzheimer’s disease and of course cancer, he elaborated.

The SEI president said that a large part of these advances are made possible by the investigation of diseases in animal models. “We are in a time when there are currents that question this, but it is essential to work on disease models to be able to develop new treatments; Mice are frequently used in immunology, and the contribution these studies make should be valued”, he indicated.

As an example, he cited two recent research papers published in the scientific journal Nature, one on the interplay of mechanisms in the digestive system and brain activity.

The idea of ​​this line of research is to discover therapies that promote beneficial functions or inhibit those that are harmful. In any case, the advent of new treatments largely depends on these research works, he recalled.

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