KGUN 9 On Your SideNewsLocal News


Research on the immune system and aging

Posted at 12:00 PM, Dec 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-26 14:00:37-05

It has been a busy year of research at the University of Arizona. 

A group of researchers received a $10 million grant to work on improving immune systems in aging populations. 

"We are working on a project where we try to rejuvenate the immune system," lead researcher Dr. Janko Nikolich-Zugich explained as he showed us his laboratory.

The ultimate goal of the study is a long or forever-lasting immunity from disease and infections.

According to Nikolich-Zugich, "infectious disease remain among the top 10 killers of people over 65."

The changes in our immune system is what causes the infectious diseases to be so deadly, Nikolich-Zugich added. 

As people age, they do not make enough cells that defend them against infections.

The $10 million grant sponsored by the National Institutes of Health will allow Nikolich-Zugich and his collaborators at UA to try and change that. 

"We are trying to take the immune system of an older individual and transform it into something more vibrant and more vigorous," he said.

If successful, and if funding continues, Nikolich-Zugich is hopeful that there will be a noticeable improvement in our immune systems in the next decade or so.