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Immunology and Cancer

Immunology and Cancer

This video was recorded at MIT World Series: Fundamentals of Cancer Research. Jianzhu Chen lays out the thorny challenges of harnessing the immune system to fight cancer. He starts with the basics: how the body employs two levels of defense against pathogens: native and adaptive immunity. The latter type of protection specifically interests Chen, because it can recognize and remember "an almost unending number" of specific pathogens, both inside and outside cells. B cells, produced in the bone marrow, can generate antibodies for clearing out bacteria, and T cells, originating in the thymus, go after viruses and other intracellular threats. They work by identifying an antigen (foreign substance) and expressing receptors -- cell surface proteins -- that bind to those antigens. Early on, the... Show More


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