Dr Fulvio D'Acquisto
Reader in Immunopharmacology, Queen Mary, University of London

Presented by Centre for Biochemical Pharmacology, William Harvey Research Institute, William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Blizard Institute of Cell and Molecular Science and Queen Mary University of London

Dr Dianne Cooper
Arthritis Research UK Career Development Fellow, Queen Mary, University of London

Lucy Norling
Research Fellow, Queen Mary, University of London

Professor Mauro Perretti
Professor of Immunopharmacology, Queen Mary, University of London

Further reading

Redness, pain and swelling: these symptoms are due to a process called inflammation, which ultimately serves to protect us. In fact, a proper physiological inflammatory response is what keeps us alive.

Few people realise there would be no life or evolution on this planet without inflammation. Thanks to inflammation we can keep our immune system fit and can respond promptly when our body is invaded by pathogens or our vital organs malfunction.

How it works

Inflammation is a primordial response that functions to protect our bodies against invasion by pathogens. However, overly aggressive or prolonged inflammatory responses can be detrimental to us. As a result, humans have evolved mechanisms to ensure that the inflammatory response is limited in time and space. Understanding how the inflammatory response is regulated seems now, more than ever, a fundamental scientific question.

Scientists now know that "inflammation" is a generic term that encompasses many forms including viral, sterile, bacterial and fungal responses. The diverse nature of these responses is reflected in the variety of ways that our body has evolved to cope with these attacks.

A great deal of research is needed to better understand how our bodies turn off inflammation and promote tissue repair. Research by the team behind this exhibit investigates the (X)-factors that "counteract" the inflammatory response to help the body return to normal functions. They are currently developing novel drugs based on the body's natural defence mechanisms.

Videos

This video introduces the scientific research behind this exhibit.