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Published: 04 February 2008

280 Pages | 3 halftones, 25 linecuts

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780195336634

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Bookseller Code (06)

In Defense of Self

How the Immune System Really Works

William R. Clark

  • The book is an updated and expanded sequel to Clark's At War Within (OUP 1995) and describes the immune system, what it is, how it works, and its role in human health and disease. That book emphasized all the ways the immune system can harm us. In this book the emphasis is much more on the positive aspects of immunity.
  • Summarizes the facts into an easily readable and interesting explanation of 'big picture' ideas for an audience without a scientific or technical background. A short glossary is provided to help general readers with scientific terms.
  • The book should interest anyone who has had any of the diseases or disorders described in Part II, and whose families want to understand in lay terms what their maladies involve. There are very few resources in accessible books about immunology.
  • Part I's four chapters describe the immune system and its components, how they fit together and work to protect us against microbial diseases. It covers antibodies, how they are made and how they work; T cells; strategies the body uses to distinguish what is self from what is not, and how the body discriminates precisely among different forms of non-self; the nature of immunological memory; and the interaction of the evolutionary older innate immune system with more recent adaptive immune response.
  • Part II's ten chapters systematically explore the role of the immune system in health and disease. It explores a wide range of topics including details of human resistance to microbial invasion: the latest approaches to vaccination, including DNA vaccines; the role of the immune system in cancer; and how the immune system will react should we ever be subjected to a bioterrorist attack.
  • The book treats the immune system's role in diseases and disorders like AIDS, cancer, autoimmunity, rheumatoid arthritis, organ transplantation, allergies and asthma, and various immunopathologies and infections caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi.
  • The book discusses the latest approaches to vaccination, including DNA vaccines, how they work, and why they don't at times.

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Medicine & Health > Pathology