In Defense of Self

In Defense of Self : How the Immune System Really Works

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Our immune system is the only thing standing between us and a sea of microbial predators that could send us to an early and ugly death. Equipped with genetic, chemical and cellular weapons, it evicts unwelcome microorganisms that find the human body a delightful place to live, carefully admitting only the few microbes that our bodies need to help us digest food and process vitamins. When the system works successfully, the vast majority of disease-causing microbes - bacteria, viruses, molds and a few parasites - are kept at bay. But the immune system isn't perfect. The same system that could save us in the event of a bioterrorist attack, prevents us from accepting potentially life-saving organ transplants. It overreacts at times, turning too much force against foreign invaders, causing serious - occasionally lethal - collateral damage to our tissues and organs. Worse yet, our immune systems may decide we ourselves are foreign and begin snipping away at otherwise healthy tissues, resulting in autoimmune disease. And the system itself is the target of one of the most deadly viruses humans have ever known: HIV, the agent of AIDS.
In In Defense of Self, William Clark invites you on a whirlwind tour of your immune system. Along the way, he introduces some of most important medical advances and challenges of the past hundred years, from the development of vaccines and the treatment of allergies, autoimmunity and cancer, to prolonging organ transplants and combating AIDS. William Clark not only explains how a vital part of our bodies works to "serve and protect," he also provides background for the exciting research themes of today that will produce the medical breakthroughs of tomorrow.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 38 line illustrations
  • 0195311264
  • 9780195311266

About William R. Clark

Dr. William Clark is Professor and Chair Emeritus of Immunology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is an internationally recognized authority on the killer T lymphocytes involved in organ transplant rejection and in viral immunity. He is the author of At War Within (OUP 1995), Sex and the Origins of Death (OUP 1996), Are We Hardwired? (OUP2000) and many other books. He lives in Los Angeles.
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Table of contents

PART I: HOW THE IMMUNE SYSTEM WORKS; 1. What Is An Immune System?; 2. Antibodies; 3. How Do Antibodies Work?; 4. T Cells: The Second Arm of Adaptive Immunity; PART II THE IMMUNE SYSTEM IN HEALTH AND DISEASE; 5. The Immune Response to Infectious Disease: All Out War!; 6. When the Immune System is the Problem, and Not The Solution; SECTION I: MICROBIAL IMMUNOPATHOLOGY; 7. Vaccines: How They Work, Why Sometimes They Don't, And What We Can Do About It; 8. When the Walls Come Tumbling Down: AIDS; 9. When the Walls Come Tumbling Down: Primary Immune Deficiencies; 10. When the Immune System is the Problem, and Not The Solution; SECTION II: HYPERSENSITIVITY AND ALLERGY; 11. The Immune System and Cancer; 12. Autoimmunity; 13. Organ Transplantation; 14. First Defense: The Immune System and Bioterrorism
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Rating details

45 ratings
4.04 out of 5 stars
5 38% (17)
4 36% (16)
3 22% (10)
2 2% (1)
1 2% (1)
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