Introduction to Clinical Immunology


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Your Immune System 101: Introduction to Clinical Immunology

Secondary immunodeficiencies generally develop later in life and may result following an infection, as is the case with AIDS following HIV infection. For more information, please see our briefing on immunodeficiency. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks the body it is meant to protect.

The principles of immunology have provided a wide variety of laboratory tests for the detection of autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases may be described as 'primary' autoimmune diseases, like type-1 diabetes, which may be manifested from birth or during early life; or as 'secondary' autoimmune diseases, which manifest later in life due to various factors. Rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis are thought to belong to this type of autoimmunity.

For more information, please see our briefing on autoimmune diseases. Allergies are hypersensitivity disorders that occur when the body's immune system reacts against harmless foreign substances, resulting in damage to the body's own tissues. Almost any substance can cause allergies an allergen , but most commonly, allergies arise after eating certain types of food, such as peanuts, or from inhaling airborne substances, such as pollen, or dust.

In allergic reactions, the body believes allergens are dangerous and immediately produces substances to attack them. This causes cells of the immune system to release potent chemicals like histamine, which causes inflammation and many of the symptoms associated with allergies. Immunology strives to understand what happens to the body during an allergic response and the factors responsible for causing them.

60-Second Sound-off: How Biologics Fundamentally Changed Clinical Immunology

This should lead to better methods of diagnosing, preventing and controlling allergic diseases. For more information, please see our breifing on allergies. Asthma is a debilitating and sometimes fatal disease of the airways. It generally occurs when the immune system responds to inhaled particles from the air, and can lead to thickening of the airways in patients over time. It is a major cause of illness and is particularly prevalent in children. In some cases it has an allergic component, however in a number of cases the origin is more complex and poorly understood.


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Cancer is a disease of abnormal and uncontrolled cell growth and proliferation and is defined by a set of hallmarks, one of which is the capacity for cancer cells to avoid immune destruction. With the knowledge that evasion of the immune system can contribute to cancer, researchers have turned to manipulating the immune system to defeat cancer immunotherapy.

Other applications of immunological knowledge against cancer include the use of monoclonal antibodies proteins that seek and directly bind to a specific target protein called an antigen. An example is Herceptin, which is a monoclonal antibody used to treat breast and stomach cancer. Moreover, a number of successful cancer vaccines have been developed, most notably the HPV vaccine. For more information, please see our briefing on cancer immunotherapy. Transplants involve transferring cells, tissues or organs from a donor to a recipient. Understanding the mechanisms and clinical features of rejection is important in determining a diagnosis, advising treatment and is critical for developing new strategies and drugs to manage transplants and limit the risk of rejection.

1. Introduction

For more information, please see our briefing on transplant immunology. Vaccines are agents that teach the body to recognise and defend itself against infections from harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. Vaccines provide a sneak 'preview' of a specific pathogen, which stimulates the body's immune system to prepare itself in the event that infection occurs. Vaccines contain a harmless element of the infectious agent that stimulate the immune system to mount a response, beginning with the production of antibodies.

Cells responsive to the vaccine proliferate both in order to manufacture antibodies specific to the provoking agent and also to form 'memory cells'. Upon encountering the infectious agent a second time, these memory cells are quickly able to deal with the threat by producing sufficient quantities of antibody. Pathogens inside the body are eventually destroyed, thereby thwarting further infection.

MSc Clinical Immunology - full details ( entry) | The University of Manchester

Several infectious diseases including smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, tuberculosis and polio are no longer a threat in Europe due to the successful application of vaccines. For more information, please see our briefing on vaccines. Veterinary immunology is a branch of Immunology dedicated to improving animal health. Like humans, animals also suffer from diseases caused either when organisms try to invade their body, or when their immune system does not function properly.

Wild, domestic, and farm animals are commonly exposed to a whole range of dangerous bacteria, viruses and parasites, which threaten their welfare. Animal infections can have widespread effects on human working sectors, like food and agriculture. Moreover, many animal infections can be naturally transmitted across the species barrier to infect humans and vice-versa, a process termed zoonosis.

What is an immunologist?

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Introduction to Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology

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Introduction to Clinical Immunology Introduction to Clinical Immunology
Introduction to Clinical Immunology Introduction to Clinical Immunology
Introduction to Clinical Immunology Introduction to Clinical Immunology
Introduction to Clinical Immunology Introduction to Clinical Immunology
Introduction to Clinical Immunology Introduction to Clinical Immunology
Introduction to Clinical Immunology Introduction to Clinical Immunology
Introduction to Clinical Immunology Introduction to Clinical Immunology

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