New Approaches in Immunotherapy

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Science  15 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5963, pp. 249
DOI: 10.1126/science.1186704

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The past decade of research on the immune system has seen an incredible expansion of knowledge in the area of innate immunity. Analysis over the preceding years had focused largely on how T and B cells orchestrate immune responses to specific pathogens, and how their memory of these encounters confers long-lasting protection. In contrast to these specific “adaptive” mechanisms, innate immunity is driven by a plethora of proteins produced by a wide range of cells throughout the body, and it provides immediate broad-spectrum responses to foreign invaders. This new understanding of innate immunity is providing insights into host reactions to noninfectious diseases such as cancer, to antigen-independent inflammatory conditions such as periodic fever syndromes, and to the inflammatory modulation of basic cellular metabolic processes. As this special issue on innate immunity points out (p. 283), ongoing research to further characterize this complex response system has great potential for identifying new therapies to treat human disease.