The immune system is the body’s natural defense against disease. A healthy immune system is characterized by the coordinated response of immune cells and chemical mediators working together to defend the body against invading pathogens like bacteria, viruses and even cancer cells.
Immune system processes come into play in almost every human disease. Exploring ways to mediate these processes – encouraging them when they’re helping the body and suppressing them when they’re not – is the underlying challenge of this therapeutic area. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Immunoscience program focuses on a group of immune-related diseases with high unmet medical needs, including:
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder that affects the joints, often leading to chronic pain, loss of function and irreversible damage. Its worldwide prevalence is believed to range from 0.5 to 1 percent of the general population, with women three times more likely to be afflicted than men. The prevalence of RA also increases with age, and the number of cases is projected to rise with changing population demographics. Despite recent advances in treatment, important unmet medical needs continue to exist in RA. Our research focuses on identifying treatments with improved safety and efficacy for RA as well as for related conditions such as psoriatic arthritis.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) has two major subgroups: ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease. These conditions cause chronic inflammation of the digestive tract and can be painful and debilitating. While IBD can occur at any age, it is most common in the young, with the peak age of onset being 15 to 30 years old. Bristol-Myers Squibb focuses on identifying potential therapies that can stop the underlying inflammatory process and help repair and heal damaged areas.
Solid Organ Transplant
Patients fortunate enough to receive a kidney transplant still face a number of medical challenges, the biggest of which is usually organ rejection and side effects from some commonly used medicines to prevent organ rejection. We continue to explore the use of improved immunosuppressive regimens to help improve patient outcomes.
Fibrosis is the formation of excess fibrous tissue that can impair the function of an organ. Fibrosis is an important component of many diseases including liver cirrhosis, heart failure, scleroderma and pulmonary fibrosis.
Lupus is a lifelong and potentially fatal disorder in which the immune system attacks the body’s own organs and tissues. There many types of Lupus, with different signs and symptoms that vary with each patient. The areas of the body most commonly affected are joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels and the brain. At Bristol-Myers Squibb, we are focusing our research on systemic lupus erythematosus, the most common form of lupus, and lupus nephritis, an associated kidney disease.