Jacques Thèze

The Immune System’s Strategies Developing New Treatments for Major Diseases Publication date : January 7, 2015

Jacques Thèze is a medical scientist specialising in HIV/AIDS research. He is the founder and director of the Cellular Immunology Unit at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, and an adviser to the World Health Organisation.

How does the human body defend itself against its many aggressors? Why is it sometimes defeated in the struggle against a particularly cunning virus? What causes the body to malfunction and attack itself, in autoimmune diseases? The strategies of our immune system are extraordinarily diverse, and the author brilliantly guides us through a jungle of lymphocytes, antibodies and killer cells. We are amazed to understand the workings of such a complex system, one that is capable of rapidly carrying, from one part of the body to another, the molecule or cell that can successfully respond to an infectious attack.
Our immune system behaves like an individual endowed with sensitivity (particularly to stress) and with the pre-established strategies of our ‘innate defences’, but also with the learning and memory skills that characterise ‘adaptive’ immunology. Ignoring such simplistic concepts as ‘me’ and ‘not-me’, immunology has succeeded in forging new tools for the future.
Will major diseases such as cancer and AIDS and (more recently) the Ebola virus be defeated by future vaccines? Will the new medications resulting from immunological engineering prove effective? In the meantime, our immune system’s ‘intelligence’ continues to evolve and to learn to deal with new situations — as it has always done.

• An accessible if occasionally challenging work on a complex, vital subject.
• A truly innovative approach to major diseases.