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In the history of disease, autoimmunity is a new kid on the block. Early immunologists were reluctant to accept that the immune system could malfunction. But the realisation that a key property of immunity was exploiting random mutation, to defeat the rapid evolution of pathogens, required a radical rethinking of its risks.
Modern medicine has identified more than 80 different autoimmune diseases. In understanding these, we have, surprisingly, also learned how to unshackle it, to attack cancer. Now we need to learn more about wielding this two edged sword.
Our speaker, Lindsay Nicholson, is reader in research at Bristol University. His main research is focused on understanding autoimmune inflammation.