Science dealing with the body's defenses against disease-causing microorganisms and disorders of those defenses. Starting with Edward Jenner's use of a vaccine against smallpox in 1796, immunology has arrived at a comprehensive and sophisticated understanding of the role of microorganisms in disease and of the formation, mobilization, action, and interaction of antibodies and antigen-reactive cells. It covers treatment of allergies, immunosuppression after organ transplants to prevent rejection, and study of autoimmune diseases and immunodeficiencies. AIDS has stimulated intensive research in the last of these.
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