This article is taking about how the immune system is essential when it comes to fighting disease causing organisms which may include bacteria and viruses (Wigzell 1993). It also outlines how immunization can be used to strengthen the immune system. Immune system can be strengthened if the antigens of a particular disease are introduced to the body. The antibodies react to the particular antigen hence strengthen the immune system (Wigzell 1993). A lot of effort is being put to ensure that the existing vaccines are improved and made more specific to reduce the adverse reactions which come with some of them (Wigzell 1993). This process of trying to improve the immune system is including use of innovative methods to ensure that the immune system is limited to responding to some cases like allergy, autoimmunity and organ rejection. This will be achieved by ensuring that action on specific molecules is blocked and pinpointed (Wigzell 1993). There are other that are being developed to increase attacks on cancer and AIDS. All the efforts are aimed at ensuring that disease treatment is improved.
The question I will ask about this articles is how exactly a cancer treatment vaccine works. These vaccines are designed in way that they have the ability to activate B cells and killer T cells and guide them to identify and attack specific types of cancer (Pazdur, & Jones 2007). This is achieved through injection of specific cancer antigen to the body. This antigen stimulates the immune system which in turn responds. This helps the immune system to identify any potential threat and destroy them since they are identified as carrying non-self antigens. Similarly the cells in the body which are normal are identified as self and leave them undestroyed (Pazdur, & Jones 2007).
However cancer cells are likely to have both self antigens and cancer associated antigens. The cancer associated antigens help to identify the cancer cells and trigger B cells and T cells to attack them. This makes cancer vaccines both preventive and curative.
Pazdur MP, & Jones JL. Vaccines: An innovative approach to treating cancer. Journal of Infusion Nursing 2007; 30(3):173–178
Wigzell, Hans, The immune system as a therapeutic agent. Sept. 1993 Scientific American Magazine, by Vol 269:126-134