Immune-Mediated Diseases: Where Do We Stand?
The progress in basic immunology during the past 50–60 years has been associated with the emergence of clinical immunology as a new discipline in the 1970s. It was defined as the application of basic immunology principles to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with diseases in which immune-mediated mechanisms play an etiological role. Immune-mediated diseases such as autoimmune diseases, allergic diseases, and asthma are important health challenges in the United States and worldwide. For instance, autoimmune diseases afflict 5–8% of the US population; asthma and allergic diseases combined represent the sixth leading cause of chronic illness and disability in the United States and the leading cause among children. As shocking as these numbers and other data in this chapter are, they cannot adequately reflect the physical and emotional devastation to individuals, families, and communities coping with hundreds of immune-mediated disorders nor do they capture the enormous deleterious impact of these diseases on the economies of countries, nations, and indeed entire planet.
KeywordsRheumatoid Arthritis Multiple Sclerosis Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Inflammatory Bowel Disease Autoimmune Disease
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