The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, including the Utah Chapter, is collaborating with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and other federal institutions to provide up to $20 million to better understand why women get immune diseases more often than men and other gender differences in immune response.

The Utah Chapter committed $271,230 last year for MS research, and part of that will support the initial research.

MS is two to three times more common in women than in men and differences in immune response based on gender appear to come into play.

Autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system attacks one's own body tissues, include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and many other diseases. All these diseases disproportionately affect women.