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IMMUNODEFICIENCY

Immunodeficiency occurs when an error or mutation in a specific gene interferes with the development and function of the immune system, leaving people vulnerable to infections.

What is immunodeficiency?

Most of us are born with a functioning immune system and while we all come down with a cold or flu occasionally, we’re generally healthy because our immune system protects us from the dangers of infectious diseases. Some people are born with a Primary Immunodeficiency (PID), an error or mutation in a specific gene that interferes with the development and function of the immune system, leaving those people vulnerable to infections.

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Key Statistics

On the rise

On the rise

Although rare, PIDs are increasing in number and complexity

300x

300x

The overall incidence of cancers in immunodeficient people is up to 300 times greater than the normal population

150

150

There are currently more than 150 primary immunodeficiency diseases

Children at risk

Children at risk

Children with PID have a much higher probability of developing lymphoma

Increased mortality

Increased mortality

Infections that can be largely asymptomatic in healthy individuals, such as the Epstein-Barr virus, can be fatal in patients with PID

Immunodeficiency research at Garvan

Garvan’s immunodeficiency research is diverse, focusing on translating basic scientific discoveries into the clinic. Our scientists have developed a new understanding of how and why the immune system fails. Research is now directed to discovering how to stop this and to halt the progression of immune disorders in their early stages. We are also studying whether immunodeficiency can be prevented in those who may have inherited an increased risk for the disease.

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