World Knowledge Forum

[WKF 2019] Turning the Immune System On and Off│Ethan M. Shevach



* Turning the Immune System On and Off(Ethan M. Shevach): Intensive studies over the past 25 years have increased our understanding of the function of the immune system and have allowed us to develop novel therapeutics to enhance immune responses to tumors and suppress immune responses to autoimmune diseases. Several cell surface molecules on lymphocytes capable of killing tumor cells function as brakes and prevent the tumor-specific cells from killing. Antibodies (“checkpoint inhibitors”) to these molecules block their function and allow the anti-tumor response to proceed. A significant therapeutic benefit is achieved in about 30-40% of patients with these biologics. The immune system also contains a unique population of lymphocytes (“regulatory or suppressor T cells”) whose role is to prevent other cells in the immune system from generating harmful inflammatory responses. Defects in the function of these cells may be responsible for the development of many autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes). Therapies are now being developed that will enhance the numbers or function of these cells and are being evaluated for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and the prevention of the rejection of transplanted organs. ★ WKF → ★ Facebook → ★ instagram →