PROGRESS IN IMMUNOLOGY: From Basic Discoveries to Medical Innovation

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Science  05 Oct 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6103, pp. 140
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6103.140-c


Human health is undeniably a topic of intense research focus today. It's an issue that affects each one of us personally–including our friends, family, and colleagues–while also having a global impact. We are constantly bombarded by environmental insults that can affect our health, from the relatively innocuous irritants that cause allergies to potentially deadly viruses, parasites, and bacteria. Our most effective defense against these microscopic invaders is our immune system. However, this defense mechanism can also turn against itself, causing a range of autoimmune diseases. Despite rapid progression in the field of immunology over the past few decades, scientists are still searching for a deeper understanding of the intricacies of the immune system and the relationships between host and pathogen. New discoveries hold the potential for uncovering novel strategies to strengthen our immunological defense mechanisms and prevent their malfunctioning.

One institution that has focused on unraveling some of the remaining questions in immunology is the RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology (RCAI). Since 2001, RCAI has published numerous research papers that have significantly advanced our knowledge in different areas of immunology. In this booklet, we invite you to read a sampling of RCAI publications that have shed light on topics such as immune cell development and differentiation, the protective role of probiotics, immune system homeostasis, and the role of immune cells in cancer and autoimmune diseases.