Major advances in our understanding of how the mammalian immune system recognises pathogens have evolved from initial observations of fruit-fly developmental mutants. Through this work it has been established that vertebrates possess a specialised ‘early warning system’ in the form of a panel of detectors to rapidly sense and trigger responses to the presence of microbial invaders through detection of so called pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). This discovery has led to the search for new agonists and antagonists that can be used, therapeutically, for rational manipulation of the immune response. These efforts have already yielded several exciting new strategies to treat autoimmune, atopic, malignant and infectious disease. This review article provides an overview of the potential impact of these drugs on human medicine.
Keywords: interferon regulatory factor 3, chemokine receptor, Cytotoxic T lymphocyte, Toll-like Receptor, CpG toxicity, tumour necrosis factor
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