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Immune System

Monoclonal antibody therapy Monoclonal antibody therapy Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are engineered to be identical and specific to only one type of antigen on the surface of cancer cells. Because of their specificity they could be used to deliver cytotoxic agents to cancer cells without affecting other cells in the body. Mab therapy can be used to destroy malignant tumor cells and prevent tumor growth by blocking specific cell receptors. Clinical trials of newer mAbs are now being done on many types of cancer and autoimmune disorders. Let′s learn more about how human body defend antigens and other pathogens with its cellular components.

Learning Objectives

After completing the topic, the student will be able to:

  • Define the term "immunity" and analyze the organization and processes of human immune system.
  • Compare and contrast innate and acquired immunity and explore how immune system protects organisms from infection with layered defenses of increasing specificity.
  • Explore the major functions of innate immunity and list different types of cells involved in it.
  • Define and discuss the term "inflammation" and explore the mechanism involved in triggering an inflammatory response.
  • Describe complementary system and analyze how this system helps to clear pathogens from an organism.
  • List and discuss the different types of cellular barriers of the innate system.
  • Name the different types of lymphocytes that protect the body from invading microorganisms.
  • Compare and contrast the functional activities of T cells and B cells.
  • Explore how humoral and cell-mediated immunity defend against different types of threats.
  • Describe the basic structure of antibody and understand the mechanisms of antibody mediated antigen disposal.
A macrophage ingesting bacteria Immune system acts as defense mechanism Inside our body, there is a mechanism designed to defend us from millions of bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins and parasites.
Immune System

An immune system is a collection of mechanisms within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor 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 adapt and evolve new ways to successfully infect the host organism. Several mechanisms evolved to recognize and neutralize pathogens.

The first, called innate immunity, is present before any exposure to pathogens and is effective from the time of birth. Innate defenses are largely nonspecific, quickly recognizing and responding to a broad range of microbes regardless of their precise identity.

The second major kind of defense is acquired immunity, also called adaptive immunity. Acquired defenses are highly specific that is, they can distinguish one inducing agent from another, even those that differ only slightly. This recognition is achieved by white blood cells called lymphocytes, which produce two general types of immune responses. In the humoral response, cells derived from B lymphocytes secrete defensive proteins called antibodies that bind to microbes and mark them for elimination. In the cell–mediated response, cytotoxic lymphocytes directly destroy infected body cells, cancer cells or foreign tissue. Cellular and chemical components of these two kinds of defense together protect vertebrates from various threats.

Immune system Immune system invades microbes The immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease.
Immune mechanisms

For proper body function, an immune system must detect a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and distinguish them from the organism′s own healthy tissue.The immune mechanisms include anti microbial peptides called defensins, phagocytosis and the complement system. The immune systems of vertebrates such as humans consist of many types of proteins, cells, organs and tissues, which interact in an elaborate and dynamic network.

Pattern recognition receptors are proteins used by nearly all organisms to identify molecules associated with pathogens. Ribonucleases and the RNA interference pathways also play an important role in the immune response to viruses.

As part of this more complex immune response, the vertebrate system adapts over time to recognize particular pathogens more efficiently. The adaptation process creates immunological memories and allows even more effective protection during future encounters with these pathogens. This process of acquired immunity is the basis of vaccination.

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