Arpad Zsigmond Barabas, Chad Douglas Cole, Rene Lafreniere, and Donald Mackay Weir
Autoimmunity represents four possible aspects of immune responses against self-components. Two of the immune responses are beneficial and two are not. We are most familiar with those aspects of autoimmunity, which are harmful to the individual and cause disease, such as they are manifested in autoimmune diseases. While the study of autoimmune diseases are important, it is equally important to know the entire spectrum of autoimmunity in order to fully understand the etiological, physiological, pathological etc. aspects of immune responses that are harmful and/or beneficial. Only by fully understanding the entire spectrum can we design appropriate interventions for treating mishaps, which can occur. Since, most of the immune events, which cause autoimmune disorders, are not yet fully unravelled, autoimmune diseases are treated non-specifically e.g. with immunosuppressive agents.
One the beneficial aspects of autoimmunity is manifested in the clearance of native and modified cellular breakdown products by specific non-pathogenic IgM autoantibodies; and the other beneficial aspect manifests in the recognition and elimination of emerging cancer cells. Without these beneficial aspects of autoimmunity, life as we know could not exist. There are two harmful aspects of autoimmunity as well that manifest in autoimmune disorders: autoimmune diseases and cancer.
In recent years, Barabas and colleagues have developed a new way of vaccinating that allows prevention and when present termination of an experimental autoimmune kidney disease. It is believed that the new vaccination technique with appropriate modifications will be applicable for many of the presently drug only treatable endogenous disorders, such as autoimmune diseases and cancer.