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Research Center for Immunodeficiencies

In 1997, a group of clinical immunologists and medical students started to investigate the frequency of primary immunodeficiency diseases (PID) in Iran. Subsequently, in 1999, the Iranian Primary Immunodeficiency Registry (IPIDR) was established. In recent years, the number of interested researchers has substantially risen, and this expansion has resulted in a growth of the complexity of the group, bringing about the requirement for a clearer definition of the purposes and activities. Meantime, an informal research group with a specific interest in the field of PID had a chance to design several national and international research projects with outstanding scientific output in this field. In 2010, the Research Center for Immunodeficiencies (RCID) affiliated to Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS) was established. It is our hope that RCID can promote scientific activities in this field, not only with regard to to research but also in education and care of affected patients.

 

 

Activities

RCID is active in carrying out the following programs:

1. Running the national registry of PID with collaboration from 28 universities of medical sciences around the country, and collecting and banking cell and tissue samples from patients with PID;

2. Conducting research activities in different areas of PID including epidemiology, prevention, laboratory methods, molecular study, and treatment & care, with integration between basic scientists and clinical researchers;

3. Scientific collaborations with different international organizations and universities mainly with Harvard Medical University (Boston, MA, USA), Karolinska University (Stockholm, Sweden), and University of Brescia (Brescia, Italy);

4. Establishing national PID networks in the country to increase physicians' awareness and create peripheral centers for diagnosis and treatment of affected individuals;

5. Running educational programs targeting the following groups:

  • Training Ph.D. students;
  • Training medical students;
  • Promoting physicians' awareness through Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs;
  • Promoting patients' awareness and that of their families, as well as the knowledge of the general public and that of the healthcare worker;

6. Planning to develop appropriate screening tests for identification of PID;

7. Developing genetic laboratories as part of prenatal, newborn and carrier screening programs;

8. Designing specific programs for prenatal diagnosis and preimplantation genetic diagnosis for those families with a history of one child with PID who are planning to have a new baby;

9. Developing national guidelines to provide equal access to treatment and providing appropriate treatment for patients with PID;

10. Planning to identify ways of improving current therapies and discovering new modalities for PID patients;

11. Collaborating with other national and international research centers and organizations in the form of multidisciplinary projects, providing up-to-date guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of PIDs, and considering the results of advanced research in the field of PID and management of patients with PID.

 

RCID Committees

RCID has several committees including: Research Committee, Educational Committee, Genetics and Prenatal Diagnosis Committee, the Iranian Primary Immunodeficiency Registry (IPIDR) Committee, and a Student Committee.

 

RCID and Iranian Primary Immunodeficiency Registry (IPIDR)

The Iranian Primary Immunodeficiency Registry (IPIDR) was established in 1999. Since its time of establishment, three reports from IPIDR were published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology in 2002, 2006 and 2013. A total of 1661 PID patients (1028 male and 633 female) were registered in IPIDR. This number includes 930 PID patients who were diagnosed during a 30-year period until March 2006, and 731 PID cases diagnosed and registered in the registry after this date. This registry is located in RCID. RCID is a documenting center of ESID registry. In order to facilitate and accelerate data entry in IPIDR and help peripheral centers for advanced diagnostic consultation, an online registry system has become available to all participating centers.

 

RCID and World PID Week

To raise awareness of the medical community and the public, April 22-29 has been introduced as PID week around the world by the International Patients Organization for Primary Immunodeficiency (IPOPI). Every year during this week, RCID tries to increase awareness of the medical community and the public in different ways, including scientific meetings, media interviews, reviewing annual goals and purposes by immunologist and subspecialists, and holding PID ceremonies.

 

Educational Programs:

The goals of RCID in the landscape of education is to increase the level of knowledge regarding basic and clinical immunology related to the field of PID for different target groups including Ph.D. students, young researchers, and physicians. The following programs are currently assigned for these groups:

1. Education of PID for Research Ph.D. students: In order to train an advanced researcher in the field of PID who will be able to arrange independent projects by knowing the basis of research methods, and to collaborate with other scientists and clinicians related to the disorders associated with PID patients with the approach of increasing the life quality of patients, RCID has undertaken the training of graduate students. 4 students are registered in the center at this time.

2. Education and training of young researchers: For the purpose of recognizing, attracting and supporting young students with capabilities in different branches of medical and paramedical fields, RCID tries to guide such young researchers by teaching them the basis of research and immunology, as well as by establishing a scientific committee for handling projects with these young researchers from preliminary stages to advance levels.

3. Continious Medical Education for physicians (CME): CME programs with the goal of maintaining a certain and appropriate level of awareness in different groups of graduated physicians, particularly general practitioners, pediatricians, and infectious specialists, is necessary to improve timely diagnosis and preventing PID complications due to delayed treatment. RCID undertook 6 CME programs in different peripheral centers around the country and will continue this project with the help of other medical universities.

 

Research Priorities:

1. Evaluation of genetic mutations in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) patients;

2. Cohort study of primary immunodeficiency patients;

3. Evaluation of the frequency of autoimmune diseases in patients with common variable immunodeficiencies (CVID);

4. Detection of Ataxia-telangiectasia carriers by a study of the chromosomal radiosensitivity with G2-chromatid breakage, SMC1 phosphorylation; and mRNA expression profiling of related genes in cancer and athrosclerosis pathway in Ataxia-telangiectasia Carriers;

5. Evaluation of apoptosis and expression levels of signaling molecules downstream of PI3K in B cells of CVID patients compared with healthy controls;

6. Evaluation of most common relevant genes of IFN-gamma/IL-12 pathway with sequencing in patients with mendelian susceptibility to mycobacterium disorders 2 analysis in patients with mendeliansuceptibility to mycobacterial disorders;

7. Molecular study of primary immunodeficiencies in patients with Entroviral infections;

8. Studying of the expression and autokinase activity of Btk in patients suffering from agammaglobulinemia;

9. Evaluation of T helper (Th1, Th17, Th22) and T regulatory cells frequency, as well as related transcription factors and cytokines in CVID patients with and without autoimmune manifestations in comparison with healthy controls;

10. Expression of TLR2 and TLR4 and related downstream signaling in PBMC of CVID patients, healthy control individuals, and HEK293 cell line.

 

Published Articles

1. Number of Publications: 205 articles in ISI-indexed journals

2. H-index: 14  

 

Published Books

To increase the awareness of physicians including general practitioners, residents of pediatrics, and clinical immunologistis, 6 books have been published by the founders of RCID through local and international publishers. Some of these books are the result of valuable contributions from more than 60 senior and junior scientists in this field, hailing from more than 40 universities worldwide. The feedbacks from these books confirm the expertise of all contributors and their generous efforts in preparing their respective book chapters.

 

Awards and Honors

2012: Third National Rank in National Razi Festival

2013: Razi Award from the Iranian President for achieving the First National Rank in National Razi Festival

2014: Razi Award from the Iranian President for achieving the First National Rank in National Razi Festival

2014-15: Dr. A. Aghamohammadi and Dr. N. Rezaei, Head of RCID and Deputy Head of RCID, respectively, were included among the Top 1% Most-Cited World Scholars in the field of immunology according to Essential Science Indicators.

 

Head of RCID

Asghar Aghamohammadi, M.D., Ph.D.

aghamohammadi@tums.ac.ir

Tel.: (+98 21) 6642 8998 

 

Deputy Head of RCID

Nima Rezaei, Associate Professor, M.D., Ph.D.

rezaei_nima@yahoo.com


 

Educational Programs Offered by the RCID

 

Major

Research Ph.D.*

Fellowship

Short-Term Courses

Immunogenetics of Immunodeficiencies

X

-

X

 

* 12 Credits Coursework is Mandatory

 

RCID Faculty Members

Asghar Aghamohammadi, M.D., Ph.D.

aghamohammadi@sina.tums.ac.ir

 

Nima Rezaei, Associate Professor, M.D., Ph.D.

rezaei_nima@yahoo.com

 

Abbas Mirshafiei, Full Professor, Ph.D.

mirshafiei@tums.ac.ir

 

Nima Parvaneh, Assistant Professor, M.D.

n.parvaneh@tums.ac.ir

 

Hassan Abolhassani, M.D., Ph.D.

abolhassanih@yahoo.com

 

RCID’s program coordinator’s contact information

Hassan Abolhassani

abolhassanih@yahoo.com

Tel.: (+98 21) 6642 8998

 

Iranian Primary Immunodeficiency Registry (IPIDR)

Dr. Tavakol

Fatemeh Kiaee

 

ESID Registry

Naeimeh Tavakolinia

 

RCID Contact Person:

Fatemeh Kiaee

rcid@tums.ac.ir

Tel.: (+98 21) 6693 5855

 

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