Clinical Studies

Clinical Studies

Overview

Clinical research volunteers are crucial partners in the quest for knowledge that will improve the health of future generations. As a non-profit research organization, we rely on our entire community to help us gain a better understanding of the immune system by contributing to groundbreaking research.

How can you help?

We have a number of ongoing clinical research programs for which we are recruiting volunteers. Qualified participants will be asked to provide a routine blood donation(s) that is performed by a certified and licensed phlebotomist here at the La Jolla Institute. All volunteers are compensated for their time and effort.

What can you expect?

After you have signed up, our Clinical Coordinator will call you and ask you a number of questions to determine whether you are eligible to participate in one of our research studies. We may also request proof of vaccination and/or information about your medical history.

If you are eligible for one of our studies, you may be scheduled for an initial appointment at LJI, where we will explain the study to you and get your informed consent for participation.

There are no costs associated with your participation and in fact, eligible participants will receive compensation for their participation and time.

Active Studies

Allergy Studies

 

Allergies result from your immune system overreacting to foreign substances, referred to as allergens. Reactions typically include coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose and a scratchy throat. T cells, a type of immune cell, play a central role in the human immune response to allergens. Detailed knowledge regarding specific allergen triggers that are recognized by T cells is currently limited. 

The purpose of this study is to find out more about how these immune cells circulating in the blood and in the nose react to allergens in the air and in certain foods we eat. The information may be used to improve therapies for allergy sufferers. Individuals who have a history of allergy as well as non-allergic control subjects will be studied. Participants will be compensated for one or more blood donations.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 18 years of age and older.
  • History of allergy.  

Alopecia

 

Alopecia is a common autoimmune disease where a person's immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and other parts of the body. For most people, alopecia involves the loss of hair in small round patches all over the body. It occurs in both males and females of all ages, but most often begins during childhood. 

The purpose of this study is to identify autoimmune triggers (T cell epitopes) present in alopecia. The information learned from this study may provide valuable insight for future alopecia therapies. Participants will be compensated for one or more blood donations. 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 18 years of age and older.
  • Diagnosed by a physician with alopecia

Mouse Exposure

 

Mouse allergies are a common health problem around people who are frequently exposed to rodents, whether at home or work. Studies show that between 11-44% of all laboratory animal workers report work-related allergic symptoms. Symptoms can include sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and skin rash. Up to 10% of workers may develop severe asthma from continuous mouse allergen exposure. 

The purpose of this study is to find out more about how immune cells react with allergens from mice. Understanding these basic mechanisms of interaction will lead to better therapies for allergy sufferers and improve specific immunotherapy treatments (SIT). Participants will be compensated for one or more blood donations. 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 18 years of age and older.
  • History of exposure or planned exposure to mice through work environments. 

Parkinson's Disease

 

Parkinson's Disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects movement and motor control. It is estimated that nearly one million people in the US are living with Parkinson's disease, with more than 100,000 people diagnosed in southern California. Unfortunately, the cause of Parkinson's disease is not entirely clear yet and many treatments only offer symptomatic relief. 

The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a link between the immune system and Parkinson's disease. Additionally, the study of DNA may show how genes influence the development of Parkinson's disease. Understanding these basic mechanisms of interaction may help to lead to better treatments and diagnostic tools for Parkinson's disease. Participants will be compensated for one or more blood donations. 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 50-70 years of age. 
  • Diagnosed by a physician with Parkinson's disease -OR- older relatives, caregivers, or other persons (aged 50-70) interested in helping advance Parkinson's research. 

Tuberculosis

 

Tuberculosis is the worldwide leading cause of death from infectious diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that tuberculosis is responsible for 2 to 3 million deaths annually and 9 million new infections are reported each year. The majority of infected individuals control the pathogen through an immune response, leading to either regained health or a suppression of active, symptomatic disease (latent TB). 

Since individuals with latent TB still carry the bacteria but are able to control infection, it is essential to study their immune systems' response against tuberculosis. The purpose of this study is to identify, characterize, and validate the specific components of tuberculosis that induce immune responses. Participants will be compensated for one or more blood donations. 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 18 years of age and older.
  • Diagnosed by a physician of latent, treated, or resolved tuberculosis -OR- medical record of BCG vaccination. 

Vaccine Studies

 

Vaccines function by promoting immune responses to infectious agents and thereby prevent illness associated with natural infection. An effective vaccine boosts your natural immune system (generating B and T memory cells), which in most cases provides life-long immunity to infection. The necessity to understand the function and interaction of these immune cell types is central to understanding how to improve vaccines and make them more effective.

The purpose of this study is to identify the characteristics of effective vaccine responses by studying the immune cells in individuals who receive vaccinations against a variety of infectious agents at various time points. Volunteers who have previous history of exposure to various infections may also be enrolled as controls. Participants will be compensated for one or more blood donations 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Generally healthy men and women, 18 years of age and older. 
  • Medical record of vaccination and/or previously diagnosed infection. 

All studies are for research purposes only and not intended to treat any medical conditions. At the moment, we are not recruiting for the following studies. Please check back at a later time.

  • Cockroach Allergy
  • Grass and Pollen
  • House Dust Mite
  • Japanese Cedar Allergy
  • Seasonal Allergies