OverviewBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Patients from throughout the world come to Mayo Clinic, which diagnoses, treats and provides comprehensive care for people with primary immunodeficiencies at the Primary Immunodeficiency Center. A combination of dedicated research and expertise makes the Primary Immunodeficiency Center at Mayo an indispensible source of information and an exceptional center for primary immunodeficiency (PID) care.
Mayo Clinic immunologists, doctors who specialize in immune system disorders, have the expertise to diagnose and treat a wide spectrum of immunodeficiencies in adults and children. Patients who are referred to Mayo Clinic by their physicians undergo an initial evaluation by an allergy and immunology specialist.
The Division of Allergic Diseases and the Department of Pediatrics provide diagnostic testing, treatment and ongoing compassionate care for patients with primary immunodeficiencies. Physicians from the Pediatric Immunodeficiency Center provide comprehensive evaluations and care for children with immune system disorders.
The Primary Immunodeficiency Center uses an integrated team approach to help address the many complications associated with immunodeficiency. Close collaboration with various other clinical groups contributes to the center's effectiveness in caring for primary immunodeficiency patients. These groups include:
The Cellular and Molecular Immunology Laboratory within the Primary Immunodeficiency Center has advanced the development of several diagnostic and prognostic tests that help provide answers for patients with immunodeficiencies. Read more about immunodeficiency research at Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic collaborates closely with other immunodeficiency research and patient-oriented support organizations. Mayo Clinic is a designated Jeffrey Modell Foundation Diagnostic and Research Center. The Jeffrey Modell Foundation is a nonprofit organization promoting and conducting research for primary immunodeficiency through a worldwide network of diagnostic and research centers. Since 2007, the Primary Immunodeficiency Center at Mayo Clinic has been a referral center for the Jeffrey Modell Foundation.
About Primary Immunodeficiency
Primary immunodeficiency disorders are immune system defects that increase a person's vulnerability to infections and other immunological and systemic problems. Some types of immunodeficiency disorders cause a shortage of antibodies, the body's essential defense mechanism against viruses, bacteria and other disease-causing agents. Some primary immunodeficiencies can exhibit a gender bias (affecting only males), while others affect males and females equally. They most commonly manifest in infancy or childhood, but there are several others that can manifest in adulthood. Most of these are caused by defects in a single gene, though some immunodeficiencies are likely caused by the interaction of more than one gene.
Before diagnosis and treatment, people with primary immunodeficiency disorders contract frequent infections that may be difficult to fight. These infections range from mild to severe, often affecting the upper respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract, the internal organs and the blood supply. The combination of a patient's history of infections, blood antibody and immune assessments and, in some cases, specific vaccine response may validate a diagnosis for primary immunodeficiency. Most diagnoses are confirmed by genetic testing, except for cases in which the genetic defect is not yet known.
For most patients, treatment of primary immunodeficiency involves intravenous immunoglobulin therapy to boost the immune system. In certain other primary immunodeficiencies, bone marrow transplant may be needed. Patients often benefit from antibiotic and other antimicrobial regimens to help manage infections.
More than 150 types of primary immunodeficiencies have been identified. Some more commonly encountered deficiencies diagnosed and treated at Mayo Clinic include:
Read more about primary immunodeficiency disorders at MayoClinic.com.