280 pages, 14 b/w photos, 10 b/w illustrations
This significant book conveys Dr. William E. Paul's enduring enthusiasm for the field of immunology, the incredible accomplishments of the past half-century, and the future's untapped promises.
The immune system has incredible power to protect us from the ravages of infection by killing disease-causing microbes or eliminating them from the body. Boosted by vaccines, it can protect us individually and as a "herd" from diseases such as measles. As Dr. Paul explains, however, the power of the immune system is a double-edged sword: an overactive immune system can wreak havoc, destroying normal tissue and causing diseases such as type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. The consequences of an impaired immune system, on the other hand, are all too evident in the clinical agonies of AIDS and other immunodeficiency diseases.
Packed with illustrations, stories from Dr. Paul's distinguished career, and compelling narratives of scientific discovery, Immunity presents the three laws of the human immune system – universality, tolerance, and appropriateness – and explains how the system protects and harms us. From the tale of how smallpox was overcome to the lessons of the Ebola epidemic to the utility of vaccines and the hope that the immune system can be used to treat or prevent cancer, Dr. Paul argues that we must position ourselves to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies and promising new tools in immunological research, including big data and the microbiome.
"A treasure trove of information, this wonderful book should broadly appeal to anyone interested in human health and disease. There is no competing volume that covers such breadth of immunology at this personal level. A tour de force."
– Daniel M. Davis, University of Manchester, author of The Compatibility Gene: How Our Bodies Fight Disease, Attract Others, and Define Our Selves
"Dr. Paul has lived the modern history of basic and applied immunology. His warm, down-to-earth style and deep insight into biology lead the reader on a fascinating journey in understanding these diverse processes from the vantage point of a discovery scientist."
– Hyam Levitsky, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
"Immunity is at once an informative history of immunology with numerous personal asides and a brilliant introduction to the wonders of this key field of medical science. The novice can learn immunology from this book while the professional will appreciate Dr. Paul's role in the history and enjoy his erudition and judgment."
– David Baltimore, California Institute of Technology, Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology or Medicine, 1975
"Bill Paul recounts in a clear fashion the ideas, experiments and insights that have led us to our present day understanding of immunity. Along the way we encounter new viruses, autoimmunity and the latest insights in cancer immunotherapy."
– Arnold Levine, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton N.J.
"An excellent overview of what science knows about immunology today."
– Harriet Hall – Science-Based Medicine
"Written by a prominent researcher and scholar who not only followed the history of immunology but also participated in its creation, Immunity could be considered as an excellent summary of the classical, pre-systemic, immunological era."
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William E. Paul, MD, is the chief of the Laboratory of Immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. He received his medical degree from the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. He is a past president of the American Association of Immunologists and the American Society for Clinical Investigation, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.