Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

New vaccine targets killer disease tuberculosis

There is only one existing vaccine for TB and it is not effective in adults. Researchers at the Centenary Institute and University of Sydney will next test their new vaccine in clinical trials with humans.

Medical research

Mechanical forces impact immune response in the lungs

When the body is fending off an infection, there are changes in temperature, pH balance, and metabolism. Yale researchers wondered if yet other factors might come into play, and in a recent study, confirmed that mechanical ...

Medical research

In cystic fibrosis, lungs feed deadly bacteria

In cystic fibrosis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a much-feared pathogen. The bacterium easily colonizes the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis, leading to chronic infections that are almost impossible to eradicate and are ...

Neuroscience

Regulating blood supply to limbs improves stroke recovery

Cutting off and then restoring blood supply to a limb following a stroke reduces tissue damage and swelling and improves functional recovery, according to a new study in mice published in JNeurosci. The simple, noninvasive ...

Medical research

New clues on stem cell transplant rejection revealed in study

In 2006, scientists discovered a way to "reprogram" mature cells—adult skin cells, for example—into stem cells that could, in principle, give rise to any tissue or organ in the body. Many assumed it was only a matter ...

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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.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA