In Defense of Self: How the Immune System Really Works
We live in a sea of seething microbial predators, an infinity of invisible and invasive microorganisms capable of setting set up shop inside us and sending us to an early grave. The only thing keeping them out? The immune system. William Clark's In Defense of Self offers a refreshingly accessible tour of the immune system, putting in layman's terms essential information that has been for too long the exclusive province of trained specialists. Clark explains how the immune system works by using powerful genetic, chemical, and cellular weapons to protect us from the vast majority of disease-causing microbes-bacteria, viruses, molds, and parasites. Only those microbes our bodies need to help us digest food and process vitamins are admitted. But this same system can endanger us by rejecting potentially life-saving organ transplants, or by overreacting and turning too much force against foreign invaders, causing serious--occasionally lethal--collateral damage to our tissues and organs. Worse yet, our immune systems may react as if we ourselves are foreign and begin snipping away at otherwise healthy tissues, resulting in autoimmune disease. In Defense of Self covers everything from how antibodies work and the strategies the body uses to distinguish self from not self to the nature of immunological memory, the latest approaches to vaccination, and how the immune system will react should we ever be subjected to a bioterrorist attack. Clark also offers important insights on the vital role that the immune system plays in cancer, AIDS, autoimmunity, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies and asthma, and other diseases. Of special interest to all those suffering from diseases related to the immune system, as well as their families, In Defense of Self lucidly explains a system none of us could live without.
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activated adaptive immunity AIDS allergen allergies animal anthrax anti antigen asthma attack autoimmune disease bacteria bacterium bind biological bioterrorism blood vessels body bone marrow botulin toxin called cancer cause CD8 cells CD8 killer cells CD8 T cells cell surface chapter class I MHC clinical completely cytokines damage death defense dendritic cells developed DNA vaccines donor drugs Ebola effective fever Figure fluids function fusin gene therapy genetic hepatitis host human hypersensitivity immune response immunological immunologists individual induce infectious disease innate immune system interaction kidney kill liver lungs lymph nodes lymphocytes macrophages major mast cells MHC proteins microbes mouse mutation NK cells normal organ parasites pathogen patients peptides plague problem produce proteins reaction recognize release result SCID sepsis serum skin smallpox specific stem cells symptoms T-cell thymus tion tissue toxin transplant trigger tuberculosis tularemia tumor cells viral infections virus viruses white blood cells white cells