A Fine Balance

Fine Tuning The Immune System

The human body is constantly under siege. It must not only defend itself from a host of infectious invaders but also rogue cancerous cells. The immune system is the primary line of defense in this game of chess, recognizing and ignoring “self” antigens, while vigorously attacking foreign ones. T lymphocytes, the strategists in this game, both direct the responses of the rest of the immune system and play an active role in it. T cells orchestrate the immune response via the production of cytokines, such as interleukins, which are chemical signals used by the immune system to instruct other cells to behave in specific ways.

Cytokines bind to receptors on the surface of immune cells and regulate their growth, development and responsiveness. These cytokines determine the type of immune response generated depending on the nature of illness. Often, they are tasked with preventing the body’s defense system from spinning out of control.

All of these responses involve different specialized immune cells, and are governed by the intricate circuitry of cell-to-cell interactions and cytokine signaling.

Because of this complexity, using these molecules as a therapy requires striking a fine balance between these different immune responses.

At Medicenna, we’re focused on enhancing or dampening the amplitude of these signals and thereby fine-tuning their ability to direct the immune response to better battle a patient’s disease.

cytokine concentration signaling amplitute