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Susan Butler

The number of people affected by autoimmune diseases is currently on the rise.  An autoimmune disease is a disease that causes the immune system to create antibodies against the body's own tissues.  Essentially the immune system is attacking itself.  

Research presented here focuses on parasites that can be used as treatment. Parasites are known to cause damage to the body, however there is research showing that in some cases the parasites are able to create an immune response that blocks or suppresses the immune response that would be created by the immune disease. 

        Safety of using parasites is among the most controversial aspects of the research (McKay 2009).  Therapeutic treatment using the parasites requires a parasitic infection that can be easily treated and does not cause serious damage to the host.  Some of the helminth parasites cause minimal damage at low doses.  The number of the parasitic worms that can be placed in the body with minimal damage must be known for effective treatment (Erb 2009).

  • Immune response is how the immune system reacts to an invader, and involves the release of cells to target the invader. 

  • T-cells are released from the immune system to bind and kill a target, in this case either the parasite or the allergen.

  • Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is an inflammatory cytokine that inhibits pro-inflammatory cytokines present in other types of interleukin and T helper cells.  IL-10 stimulates some T- cells and B-cells. 

  • IgE is associated with allergic responses.  The binding of IgE and the receptor of a mast cell releases a chemical such as histamine.  Histamine causes constriction of airways and widening of blood vessels, leading to an allergic response. 

  • B-cells are white blood cells that secrete antibodies that can be used against an antigen.

(Silverthorn, 2007)

The Immune Response

Immune Response

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