Towards a General Theory of Immunity?

Abstract : Theories are indispensable to organize immunological data into coherent, explanatory, and predictive frameworks. Here we propose to combine different models to develop a unifying theory of immunity, which situates immunology in the wider context of physiology. We believe that the immune system will be increasingly understood as a central component of a network of partner physiological systems that connect to maintain homeostasis. Why a theory of immunity? Since its inception in the late 19th century, immunology has been embedded into medicine, aiming to explain how we do not succumb to infectious microbes. Immunology is practical: based on our understanding of the immune system, we have developed vaccines and immunotherapies against infection and cancer, and are countering its destructive effects during pathological inflammation. Nonetheless, immunology was awarded several Nobel Prizes for its theories, in 1908 to Metchnikoff and Ehrlich for their complementary frameworks (" cellular " and " humoral "), in 1960 to Burnet for founding concepts on tolerance and the clonal selection theory, in 1984 to Jerne for theories " concerning the specificity in development and control of the immune system ". These awards underscore the fundamental challenge in explaining how the immune system recognizes pathogens.
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Contributeur : Thomas Pradeu <>
Soumis le : vendredi 29 décembre 2017 - 11:53:59
Dernière modification le : jeudi 11 janvier 2018 - 06:28:10


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Gérard Eberl, Thomas Pradeu. Towards a General Theory of Immunity?. Trends in Immunology, Elsevier, inPress, 〈〉. 〈10.1016/〉. 〈hal-01673352〉



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