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Science  21 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6310, pp. 373
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6310.373-b


It has recently been recognized that the role of the immune system in health and well-being is perhaps more far-reaching than previously imagined. An insufficient or overactive immune response is at the heart of countless pathologies including cancer, autoimmune diseases, and infectious diseases. Monitoring immune responses by measuring cytokine levels has become an integral part of disease-related research, providing clues to the state of the immune system and how it could be targeted therapeutically. Understanding which cytokines are best for monitoring inflammation and immunosuppression, and knowing which are secreted by different immune cell types at each stage of maturation and activation, will provide essential insights into disease treatment options. Importantly, we need to ask whether the use of common biomarkers is good enough, or if a larger number of cytokines needs to be routinely measured to better understand the complexity of immune responses.

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