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Some wars are fought on the battlefield, some wars are fought within us; all wars are fought with science. Whether it's your body battling itself through immunotherapy or chemical weapons being used on the battlefield, scientists from around the country talk to us about how science addresses these issues.
Winging it, or trying to control use of weapons through treaties.
Professor Alastair Hay OBE (Emeritus Professor of Environmental Toxicology )
Chemical weapons have been used extensively in wars since 1915 and biological weapons very rarely since then. Today chemical weapons use is forbidden by an international treaty which forbids use, having weapons, or helping others to acquire them, and the treaty has a ‘policing’ element to ensure compliance. 193 states have signed this treaty, but some are flouting it. Biological weapons are also forbidden by treaty, but there is no policing , and we rely on countries good behaviour. Is this good enough? If countries flout existing treaties and scorn the policeman why have them at all?
Move and counter move- the ‘chess-game’ of designing therapies for autoimmunities
Dr Allison Green (Senior Lecturer in Immunology)
Our immune system evolved to protect us from microbial harm; an army of elite ‘soldiers’ that use weapons of mass destruction to annihilate. In some individuals, this personalised army goes rogue attacking host tissue. In this talk, we will explore the complexities of this so-called ‘autoimmunity’ focusing on type 1 diabetes as a model condition. Furthermore, we will delve into the challenges scientists face in pitting their intellect against the might of an almost invincible army, to design novel therapies for preventing or resolving autoimmunity.
Cancer – our body vs our body gone rogue
Dr Elizabeth Ilett (Lecturer)
Our bodies recognize foreign invaders that cause disease, e.g. bacteria and viruses, and can usually deal with them effectively; that’s an easy one for the immune system. But what when the dangerous invader isn’t an invader at all? What when it’s basically you, but a you that’s gone rogue? How can your body’s immune system eliminate them? The answer is – not very easily – because the cells don’t just go rogue, they go undercover as well (think of that bad pistachio somewhere in the bag of nuts). What can we do about this and how can we alert the immune system to the danger from within?