Conclusion from Dr. Pascal Mensah, Scientific Director of ICoMI 2017

ICoMI 2017 is now over and we are glad to have achieved this first edition with great success and strong positive feedback.

It gathered over 300 attendees from 28 different countries.

ICoMI provided scientists and physicians a fantastic platform to put forward their latest works and has emphasized the difficulty in finding new ways to treat patients suffering from chronic diseases.
Thus, many different possibilities to modulate the immune system and orient the immune response have been exposed. As the immune system is always involved in the chronic disorders, it constitutes a big challenge to draw new therapeutical strategies.

During this congress we have understood how the collaboration between researchers and doctors is fundamental.

What kind of findings has ICoMI brought forward?

 Some of them are described below:

 1) New understandings in the field of the autoimmunity:

  • Zonulin is a key protein in the modulation of tight-junctions that are essential in maintaining the integrity of the intestinal barrier. Coeliac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes show increased levels of serum Zonulin providing strong evidences for a link between greater intestinal permeability and the development of chronic inflammatory diseases. Many studies have shown the impact of environmental triggers that cause Zonulin release such as Gluten or Microbiota.
  • Why do some people get autoimmune diseases? Reasons include genetic factors, environmental triggers and defects in immune regulation. The main cells involved in auto-immunity are Th1, Th17 and Tregulatory (Tregs) cells. The balance between different cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-17, IL-10) is crucial for maintaining the function of Tolerance.
  • Complement system signalling has a key role in the induction and contraction of Th1 responses that could break down the balance between infection and autoimmunity.
  • TLR-induced IL-1 is important in the pathogenesis of the Type1 Diabetes.
  • Gut microbial metabolites (e.g.:  Butyrate) limit autoimmune T cells generation and protect against type 1 diabetes by sustaining immune Tolerance.
  • Different biomarkers of immune cells might be relevant to monitor the immune system functionality.

  2) How is it possible nowadays to modulate the immune system?

  •  Using immunocompetent substances in Low-doses (from μg/ml to fg/ml): e.g. micro-immunotherapy.
  • Tolerance constitutes the main goal of the therapeutic strategies: how to restore it? 

    • Using Monoclonal Antibodies (e.g.CAMPATH).
    • Changing the local microenvironment with Low-doses of cytokines, but it still remains to determine which ones are the most suitable (e.g IL-2) and which is the effective dose (e.g. ng/ml).
    • Modifying peptides by an enzymatic process (e.g transamidation) or producing them by synthesis specifically to target TCD4+ cells and reduce the immune response towards specific antigens. Among different immunocompetent substances, Preimplantation factor (P.I.F) is a wonderful natural molecule surprisingly well adapted to immune system regulation. 
    • Nanoparticles represent a new promising drug delivery system to bring drugs and/or cytokines directly to the therapeutic target avoiding most side effects.
    • Nutrition (FFA, SCFA, Omega3) also can modulate the immune system directly or via the Microbiota. Diet changes the cellular environment and reduces the level of aminoacids by decreasing the mTOR activity, which permits the T cell’s proliferation.
    • Blocking IL-1 signalling pathway or the activation of inflammasome might be other interesting strategies.

New perspectives

What we have to look at in the future is to create new collaborations between medical practitioners and scientists. It’s really important to get further into new basic understandings so that to identify new pathologic pathways and it appears to be necessary to combine different therapeutics as the immune system needs to be controlled at different checkpoints. Many studies have to be done to explore all these fields.

Our goal is to make micro-immunotherapy a common word used by the medical and the scientific committees to describe this original way to modulate the immune response by using low-doses of immunocompetent molecules.