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In Defense of SelfHow the Immune System Really Works$
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William R. Clark

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195336634

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336634.001.0001

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The Immune System and Cancer

The Immune System and Cancer

(p.163) 11 The Immune System and Cancer
In Defense of Self

William R. Clark

Oxford University Press

Cancers arise as a result of mutations in genes controlling cell division. They may well arise in the body on a fairly frequent basis. Most or all cancers display information on their surface that should make them seem foreign; the rare tumors that emerge have somehow escaped detection by the immune system. Immune surveillance of tumors is largely the job of T cells and a specialized cell called the NK (natural killer) cell. Our improved understanding of the interaction between tumor cells and the immune system has led to promising possibilities for treating cancer in the future, including forms of gene therapy and DNA-based cancer vaccines.

Keywords:   immune surveillance, T cells, natural killer cells, gene therapy, DNA vaccines

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