Research on Immune-related Diseases

At SSI, we study diseases of the immune system, in particular lymphoid malignancies, their association with infections and characteristics shared with autoimmune conditions.

Areas of Focus

The objectives of our research include identification of risk factors for lymphoid cancers and the biological mechanisms underpinning the diseases. Our focus of attention is the role of infections and constitutional susceptibility in the pathogenesis of lymphomas and the phenotypical overlap with autoimmune conditions.
As research tools we use the Danish health registers, biological samples as well as clinical information from various sources. Our research is carried out in close collaboration with clinicians attending the patients and with experts in the fields of laboratory analyses, machine learning and genetics to ensure that data is used to the fullest.

Highlighted Research Projects

HOLYDAN (Hodgkin lymphoma in Denmark) study

Hodgkin lymphoma is among the commonest cancers in teenagers and young adults. Research indicates that the lymphoma in some instances – maybe all – is caused by a specific infection and the immune reaction to the infection is pivotal for development of the lymphoma. To explore this interplay between host and environment we have collected diagnostic material and clinical information for next to all cases of Hodgkin lymphoma in Denmark in the period 1990-2010. By combining this information with register data, we aim to describe the significance of infections, immune response and genetic susceptibility for the risk and the prognosis of Hodgkin lymphoma. 

DAISY (Daycare Attendance and disease Susceptibility in Young adults) study

The vast majority of Danish children attend day care facilities early in life. Here, the children are intensively exposed to infections and as a corollary to antimicrobials. These exposures shape the children’s immune systems, which may explain why day-care attendance has previously been associated with a decreased risk of childhood leukemia. Meanwhile, long term consequences of this early and intensive modulation of the immune system have never been studied. To this end, we have reestablished a nationwide database with information on day-care attendance which through linkage with Danish health registers will allow us to assess the association between age at day-care enrolment and occurrence of immune disorders such as allergy, autoimmune diseases and cancer.

DBDS (Danish Blood Donor Study)

The Danish Blood Donor Study is an ongoing cohort study of blood donor health, currently including more than 100,000 participants. By combining register-information with data from questionnaires, health registers, and blood- and DNA analyses this study will expand our understanding of not only donor health, but of a wide variety of diseases.

Henrik Hjalgrim

Contact

Henrik Hjalgrim , Consultant Physician , Department of Epidemiology Research
T. +45 32683961 @. hhj@ssi.dk View profile