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Our immune system is the body’s army of defence against viruses and bacteria. However under some conditions, these guardians switch battle sides and attack our own body. Tonight, Antal discusses how a particular gene can both protect against and contribute to immune diseases. Whilst Tim and Sophie deliberate on the severe complications caused by the immune system after surgery. This event is kindly sponsored by Queen Mary University of London - Life Science Initiative.
How ancestry can shape our immunity
Genetically all humans are 99.9% identical. However, a recent study described more than 80 million individual human gene signatures. Some of these genetic traits characterise people of defined ethnicities, inhabiting one country only, or one continent. Some variants have been selected by evolution as they provided protection from locally prevalent endemic diseases. I will speak about a gene variant that originates and is hugely widespread in Africa. This unique "African" gene variant protects its bearers from malaria but predisposes them later in life for major chronic diseases.
Surgery: a double-edged scalpel?
Surgery has the potential to relieve suffering and provide cure from serious diseases such as cancer. Surgery has evolved from the barber-surgeons of medieval times. Patients are changing too and sicker people have operations than before. Despite medical advances, patients are still suffering from life-threatening complications after surgery, such as infections and organ failure. The act of surgery itself can contribute to the development of complications even with optimal surgical technique. We will discuss how these complications arise and what might be done in future to prevent them.