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Immune Regulation

Many pathological conditions stem from deregulation of the immune system. Enzo has developed proprietary technology in two areas of immune regulation: Oral tolerance and Immune modulation.

Oral tolerance
An essential property of the immune system is its ability to distinguish between "self" and "non-self"', or foreign entities. In a healthy organism, self-entities are not attacked, whereas foreign entities may or may not be attacked, depending on a complex series of "clues" that indicate the potential harm of that entity. Under certain conditions a host organism ceases to recognize one of its own entities, or antigens, as "self" and initiates an immune response directed against that "self "antigen resulting in an autoimmune condition. Examples of autoimmune diseases are rheumatic heart disease, where an autoimmune response is directed against heart tissue, and Crohn's disease, where the response is directed at intestinal cells.

Oral administration of the same or similar antigens that are responsible for the autoimmune response can induce tolerance and result in deregulation of the immune system, thereby diminishing the undesirable immune response. The induction of this oral tolerance is mediated by the cells of the intestinal mucosa that act to induce to induce oral tolerance to the offending antigen by the same process that they utilize to induce tolerance to the numerous foreign antigens in the food that we consume.

Based on this platform, we have developed therapeutic modalities and conducted clinical trials for a variety of autoimmune diseases including Crohn's disease, autoimmune uveitis and hepatitis.

Immune modulation
Mounting an immune response can proceed through two main immunological response mechanisms: antibody-based and cell-based responses. In some cases an immune disorder can be corrected by changing the modality of the response from antibody-based to cell-based or from cell-based to antibody-based. We have discovered and developed a number of small molecules that can redirect the immunological response in a beneficial way. We have shown that these small molecules, glycosylceramides, can act to ameliorate a number of immune disorders in animal models of colitis, metabolic syndrome, bone marrow transplantation, hepatitis and hepatocarcinoma. We have studied these compounds in clinical trials of individuals with metabolic syndrome.