The following are notable events in the Timeline of immunology:
In immunology, an antigen (Ag) is a molecule, moiety, foreign particulate matter, or an allergen, such as pollen, that can bind to a specific antibody or T-cell receptor. The presence of antigens in the body may trigger an immune response.
The immune system is a network of biological systems that protects an organism from diseases. It detects and responds to a wide variety of pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms, as well as cancer cells and objects such as wood splinters, distinguishing them from the organism's own healthy tissue. Many species have two major subsystems of the immune system. The innate immune system provides a preconfigured response to broad groups of situations and stimuli. The adaptive immune system provides a tailored response to each stimulus by learning to recognize molecules it has previously encountered. Both use molecules and cells to perform their functions.
The T helper cells (Th cells), also known as CD4+ cells or CD4-positive cells, are a type of T cell that play an important role in the adaptive immune system. They aid the activity of other immune cells by releasing cytokines. They are considered essential in B cell antibody class switching, breaking cross-tolerance in dendritic cells, in the activation and growth of cytotoxic T cells, and in maximizing bactericidal activity of phagocytes such as macrophages and neutrophils. CD4+ cells are mature Th cells that express the surface protein CD4. Genetic variation in regulatory elements expressed by CD4+ cells determines susceptibility to a broad class of autoimmune diseases.
Natural killer cells, also known as NK cells or large granular lymphocytes (LGL), are a type of cytotoxic lymphocyte critical to the innate immune system. They belong to the rapidly expanding family of known innate lymphoid cells (ILC) and represent 5–20% of all circulating lymphocytes in humans. The role of NK cells is analogous to that of cytotoxic T cells in the vertebrate adaptive immune response. NK cells provide rapid responses to virus-infected cell and other intracellular pathogens acting at around 3 days after infection, and respond to tumor formation. Most immune cells detect the antigen presented on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on infected cell surfaces, but NK cells can recognize and kill stressed cells in the absence of antibodies and MHC, allowing for a much faster immune reaction. They were named "natural killers" because of the notion that they do not require activation to kill cells that are missing "self" markers of MHC class I. This role is especially important because harmful cells that are missing MHC I markers cannot be detected and destroyed by other immune cells, such as T lymphocyte cells.
Immunotherapy or biological therapy is the treatment of disease by activating or suppressing the immune system. Immunotherapies designed to elicit or amplify an immune response are classified as activation immunotherapies, while immunotherapies that reduce or suppress are classified as suppression immunotherapies. Immunotherapy is under preliminary research for its potential to treat various forms of cancer.
In biology, immunity is the state of being insusceptible or resistant to a noxious agent or process, especially a pathogen or infectious disease. Immunity may occur naturally or be produced by prior exposure or immunization.
A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell (leukocyte) in the immune system of most vertebrates. Lymphocytes include T cells, B cells, and Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), of which natural killer cells are an important subtype. They are the main type of cell found in lymph, which prompted the name "lymphocyte". Lymphocytes make up between 18% and 42% of circulating white blood cells.
Cancer immunotherapy (immuno-oncotherapy) is the stimulation of the immune system to treat cancer, improving on the immune system's natural ability to fight the disease. It is an application of the fundamental research of cancer immunology and a growing subspecialty of oncology.
The adaptive immune system, also known as the acquired immune system, or specific immune system is a subsystem of the immune system that is composed of specialized, systemic cells and processes that eliminate pathogens or prevent their growth. The acquired immune system is one of the two main immunity strategies found in vertebrates.
Ipilimumab, sold under the brand name Yervoy, is a monoclonal antibody medication that works to activate the immune system by targeting CTLA-4, a protein receptor that downregulates the immune system.
Understanding of the antitumor immunity role of CD4+ T cells has grown substantially since the late 1990s. CD4+ T cells (mature T-helper cells) play an important role in modulating immune responses to pathogens and tumor cells, and are important in orchestrating overall immune responses.
Antigenic escape, immune escape, immune evasion or escape mutation occurs when the immune system of a host, especially of a human being, is unable to respond to an infectious agent: the host's immune system is no longer able to recognize and eliminate a pathogen, such as a virus. This process can occur in a number of different ways of both a genetic and an environmental nature. Such mechanisms include homologous recombination, and manipulation and resistance of the host's immune responses.
Cancer immunology (immuno-oncology) is an interdisciplinary branch of biology and a sub-discipline of immunology that is concerned with understanding the role of the immune system in the progression and development of cancer; the most well known application is cancer immunotherapy, which utilises the immune system as a treatment for cancer. Cancer immunosurveillance and immunoediting are based on protection against development of tumors in animal systems and (ii) identification of targets for immune recognition of human cancer.
Lymphocyte-activation gene 3, also known as LAG-3, is a protein which in humans is encoded by the LAG3 gene. LAG3, which was discovered in 1990 and was designated CD223 after the Seventh Human Leucocyte Differentiation Antigen Workshop in 2000, is a cell surface molecule with diverse biologic effects on T cell function. It is an immune checkpoint receptor and as such is the target of various drug development programs by pharmaceutical companies seeking to develop new treatments for cancer and autoimmune disorders. In soluble form it is also being developed as a cancer drug in its own right.
Cancer immunoprevention is the prevention of cancer onset with immunological means such as vaccines, immunostimulators or antibodies. Cancer immunoprevention is conceptually different from cancer immunotherapy, which aims at stimulating immunity in patients only after tumor onset, however the same immunological means can be used both in immunoprevention and in immunotherapy.
Trogocytosis is when a cell nibbles another cell. It is a process whereby lymphocytes conjugated to antigen-presenting cells extract surface molecules from these cells and express them on their own surface. The molecular reorganization occurring at the interface between the lymphocyte and the antigen-presenting cell during conjugation is also called "immunological synapse".
Immunomics is the study of immune system regulation and response to pathogens using genome-wide approaches. With the rise of genomic and proteomic technologies, scientists have been able to visualize biological networks and infer interrelationships between genes and/or proteins; recently, these technologies have been used to help better understand how the immune system functions and how it is regulated. Two thirds of the genome is active in one or more immune cell types and less than 1% of genes are uniquely expressed in a given type of cell. Therefore, it is critical that the expression patterns of these immune cell types be deciphered in the context of a network, and not as an individual, so that their roles be correctly characterized and related to one another. Defects of the immune system such as autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiency, and malignancies can benefit from genomic insights on pathological processes. For example, analyzing the systematic variation of gene expression can relate these patterns with specific diseases and gene networks important for immune functions.
Immunology is the study of the immune system during health and disease. Below is a list of immunology-related articles.
Passive antibody therapy, also called serum therapy, is a subtype of passive immunotherapy that administers antibodies to target and kill pathogens or cancer cells. It is designed to draw support from foreign antibodies that are donated from a person, extracted from animals, or made in the laboratory to elicit an immune response instead of relying on the innate immune system to fight disease. It has a long history from the 18th century for treating infectious diseases and is now a common cancer treatment. The mechanism of actions include: antagonistic and agonistic reaction, complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC), and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC).
Whole-cell vaccines are a type of vaccine that has been prepared in the laboratory from entire cells. Such vaccines simultaneously contain multiple antigens to activate the immune system. They induce antigen-specific T-cell responses.