Enhancement Immunological

John W Fabre, The Institute of Child Health, University College London Medical School, London, UK

The spectrum of antigens which any organism regards as self is not a fixed and immutable characteristic, but one which is subject to manipulation. This was first observed in nature by R.D. Owen in 1945, who discovered that cattle twins arc life-long hematopoietic chimeras, as a consequence of vascular connections between the twin placentae and the exchange of hematopoietic stem cells in utero. This general phenomenon was reproduced experimentally in mice in 1953 by Billingham, Brent and Medawar. These observations stimulated great hopes that potent, antigen-specific approaches to immunosuppression, mimicking self-tolerance, would enable clinical transplantation to proceed on diverse fronts. In the event, contrary to all expectations in the 1950s, clinical transplantation has flourished using nonspecific immunosuppression.

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