Teaching the immune system “self” respect and tolerance

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Science  20 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6190, pp. 1343-1344
DOI: 10.1126/science.1256864

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The immune system protects the individual from infectious agents and the emergence of tumors while preserving the host's integrity (1). The latter implies that the immune system will not attack the individual's own tissues (“self”). This peaceful coexistence, or immune tolerance, is broken when an autoimmune disease develops, such as multiple sclerosis or insulin-dependent diabetes. Tolerance is what we would like to restore to cure such disabling diseases. Kasagi et al. (2) indicate that it may be possible to teach the immune system to tolerate “self” again.