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3 Share Nobel Prize In Medicine For Immune System Work 75

alphadogg writes "This year's Nobel Laureates have revolutionized our understanding of the immune system by discovering key principles for its activation. Scientists have long been searching for the gatekeepers of the immune response by which man and other animals defend themselves against attack by bacteria and other microorganisms. Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann discovered receptor proteins that can recognize such microorganisms and activate innate immunity, the first step in the body's immune response. Ralph Steinman discovered the dendritic cells of the immune system and their unique capacity to activate and regulate adaptive immunity, the later stage of the immune response during which microorganisms are cleared from the body."
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3 Share Nobel Prize In Medicine For Immune System Work

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  • Obama (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EzInKy ( 115248 ) on Monday October 03, 2011 @09:42AM (#37588984)

    Obama got the peace prize because his election held promise that American's were finally willing to accept that unAmericans were important too,

  • by wwphx ( 225607 ) on Monday October 03, 2011 @11:14AM (#37589938) Homepage
    as I'm a person with such a disorder. Specifically, my body does not produce immuneglobin, which can make me very susceptible to disease. My triggering event was in 2009 when I had pneumonia four times in five months, fortunately I had no permanent lung damage as a result. I have to infuse immuneglobin into my abdomen weekly to stay reasonably healthy (four needles/90 minutes/twice a week, I recently did my 200th infusion).

    For the most part, it's a life-long genetic condition, and we had indicators that I did get sick more often than most people, but it took this mini-crisis for me to get diagnosed and treated. There is no cure as of yet. My specific disorder is that my body's B cells do not produce immuneglobin in response to the presence of infection. They have successfully forced/tricked B cells to produce IG in a petri dish, but have not yet succeeded at that rat level.

    Which brings us to the interesting part. I've heard a theory that immune system shut-down could actually be a form of defensive mechanism. For certain types of immunodeficiency they have successfully turned the immune system back on, but they've had a very high incidence of tumors later. So it's possible that an immune system clamps down and stops producing certain types of immuneglobin so that the body doesn't start producing cancer.

    Interesting concept. They've also seen a reduction in certain cancer rates for people on immuneglobin therapy, and since I'll be doing this for the rest of my life, that's small compensation.

    Treatment is expensive, it takes portions of 10,000 plasma donations to produce one treatment. That's a pretty scary scale to me.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton