Prospects & Overviews
Improved vaccines through targeted manipulation of the body's immunological risk-assessment?
Article first published online: 20 JUL 2012
Copyright © 2012 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 34, Issue 10, pages 876–884, October 2012
How to Cite
Sander, L. E. (2012), Improved vaccines through targeted manipulation of the body's immunological risk-assessment?. Bioessays, 34: 876–884. doi: 10.1002/bies.201200057
- Issue published online: 13 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 20 JUL 2012
- host pathogen interaction;
- immunological risk assessment;
Recent advances have highlighted the outstanding role of the innate immune system for instructing adaptive immunity. Translating this knowledge into successful immunotherapies like vaccines, however, has proven to be a difficult task. This essay is based on the hypothesis that immune responses are tightly scaled to the infectious threat posed by a given microbial stimulus. A meticulous immunological risk-assessment process is therefore instrumental for eliciting well-balanced responses and maintaining immune homeostasis. The immune system makes fine distinctions, for example, between live and dead bacteria, or pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms. Here, I discuss recent evidence for some of the mechanisms underlying these distinctions and speculate on strategies for therapeutically targeting the immunological risk-assessment machinery.