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You could be instrumental in finding a cure for autoimmune diseases

Results from The Sound Life Project will help find causes and cures for diseases like type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and Crohn's. Sponsored by Virginia Mason.

SEATTLE — According to the National Institutes of Health, one in fifteen Americans suffer from an autoimmune disease like type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, or rheumatoid arthritis.

In the Pacific Northwest, there is a greater prevalence of multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes. The reasons why are unknown, "That's part of why we need to keep doing our work," said Dr. Cate Speake, Research Assistant Member at the Benaroya Research Institute (BRI) at Virginia Mason.

The BRI is an organization dedicated to finding causes and cures of immune system diseases and is currently collaborating with the new Allen Institute for Immunology on The Sound Life Project. The goal of the two-year research initiative is to gain a better understanding of the healthy immune system. In order to do that, they need people to join the study

"We're enrolling participants in our study in two groups, ages 25-35 and 55-65," said Kassidy Benoscek, who works in BRIs Translation Research Program.  Participants in the study will be involved for two years, completing ten visits where they may be asked to donate blood and answer questions about their lifestyle, health, family history, and things of that nature.

Benoscek adds, "We really are wanting to enroll people that are considered very healthy, maybe not on a lot of medications".

The study relies on observing healthy immune systems in order to develop a context for how autoimmune diseases develop. There is also an added challenge with the fact that many individuals suffering from one autoimmune disease can be susceptible to developing multiple autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Speake explains the importance of this research because of common links between autoimmune diseases, "Understanding how we can prevent one of those might then ultimately lead to the prevention of multiple autoimmune diseases in a given person."

The Sound Life Project is looking for participants within the Seattle area who have healthy immune systems to work with them on this initiative. For more information on the study, go to benaroyaresearch.org.

RELATED: Panel discussion with Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason and Divorce Coach Karen Bonnell - Wellness Wednesday

Sponsored by Virginia Mason. Segment Producer Heidi Eng. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.comContact New Day   

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