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The human immune system is a truly amazing constellation of responses to attacks from outside the body. It has many facets, a number of which can change to optimize the response to these unwanted intrusions. The system is remarkably effective, most of the time.
For a good description of how the immune system works, click on this link:
The Immune System

The immune system is often described as a kind of military unit, a defense network that guards the body from invaders. Seen in this way, a group of white blood cells called T cells are the frontline soldiers of immune defense, engaging invading pathogens head on. These T cells are commanded by a second group of cells called regulatory T cells. Regulatory T cells prevent biological "friendly fire" by ensuring that the T cells do not attack the body's own tissues. Failure of the regulatory T cells to control the frontline fighters leads to autoimmune disease.
Cracking open the black box of autoimmune disease

New research helps explain how protective T cells improve their ability to identify and destroy virus-infected cells. T cells are the cells that come to the rescue when a virus attacks the human body. These cells are a form of white blood cell that can bind to an infected cell, then destroy it before a virus can replicate itself. Until now, little was known about the specifics of how this unique class of cells works. Now, thanks to the work of researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, scientists have a greater understanding of the important role that T cells play and how this knowledge might be used to develop better vaccines to battle viruses and other harmful pathogens. The research is published in the August issue of the journal Nature Immunology.

"Certain T-cells, called CD8+ T-cells, are trained to become serial killers. Their role in the immune system is to jump from one cell to another and destroy the infected ones before they become converted into virus-producing factories while leaving uninfected, healthy cells intact,"
explained Mark Slifka, Ph.D., assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology in OHSU's School of Medicine and an assistant scientist at OHSU's new Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute.
"In our research we were trying to solve the long-standing mystery of how certain specialized virus-specific T cells learn to identify infected cells much more effectively than other T cells."
The Immune System