Definition of autoimmune
- autoimmune diseases
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Any healthy body produces a variety of antibodies, proteins in the blood whose job is to protect the body from unwanted bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. The cells and organs that deal with such infections make up the immune system. In some people and animals, for various reasons, the antibodies become overactive and turn on the body's healthy tissues as well; the result is an autoimmune disease—an immune response directed against one's own self. More than eighty autoimmune diseases have been identified, the best-known being type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
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