Related topics: cells · immune cells · immune response · bacteria · protein

Nanotherapy offers new hope for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes

Individuals living with Type 1 diabetes must carefully follow prescribed insulin regimens every day, receiving injections of the hormone via syringe, insulin pump or some other device. And without viable long-term treatments, ...

Understanding the entry mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 into human cells

The biology of SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic, remains partially elusive. Understanding viral mechanisms is a key factor in developing effective treatment strategies against the outbreak. Now, Keesiang ...

Nanoparticle therapeutic enhances cancer immunotherapy

Researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine have discovered that a nanoparticle therapeutic enhances cancer immunotherapy and is a possible new approach in treating malignant pleural effusion (MPE). MPE is the accumulation ...

Neutralizing antibodies for emerging viruses

Researchers at Sandia have created a platform for discovering, designing and engineering novel antibody countermeasures for emerging viruses. This new process of screening for nanobodies that "neutralize" or disable the virus ...

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Immune system

An immune system is a collection of biological processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumour cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own healthy cells and tissues in order to function properly. Detection is complicated as pathogens can evolve rapidly, producing adaptations that avoid the immune system and allow the pathogens to successfully infect their hosts.

To survive this challenge, multiple mechanisms evolved that recognize and neutralize pathogens. Even simple unicellular organisms such as bacteria possess enzyme systems that protect against viral infections. Other basic immune mechanisms evolved in ancient eukaryotes and remain in their modern descendants, such as plants, fish, reptiles, and insects. These mechanisms include antimicrobial peptides called defensins, phagocytosis, and the complement system. Vertebrates such as humans have even more sophisticated defense mechanisms. The immune systems of vertebrates consist of many types of proteins, cells, organs, and tissues, which interact in an elaborate and dynamic network. As part of this more complex immune response, the human immune system adapts over time to recognise specific pathogens more efficiently. This adaptation process is referred to as "adaptive immunity" or "acquired immunity" and creates immunological memory. Immunological memory created from a primary response to a specific pathogen, provides an enhanced response to secondary encounters with that same, specific pathogen. This process of acquired immunity is the basis of vaccination.

Disorders in the immune system can result in disease. Immunodeficiency occurs when the immune system is less active than normal, resulting in recurring and life-threatening infections. Immunodeficiency can either be the result of a genetic disease, such as severe combined immunodeficiency, or be produced by pharmaceuticals or an infection, such as the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) that is caused by the retrovirus HIV. In contrast, autoimmune diseases result from a hyperactive immune system attacking normal tissues as if they were foreign organisms. Common autoimmune diseases include Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus type 1 and lupus erythematosus. Immunology covers the study of all aspects of the immune system which has significant relevance to human health and diseases. Further investigation in this field is expected to play a serious role in promotion of health and treatment of diseases.

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