Recent years have witnessed an explosion of interest in the innate immune system. Questions about how the innate immune system senses infection and empowers a protective immune response are being answered at the molecular level. These basic science discoveries are being translated into a more complete understanding of the central role innate immunity plays in the pathogenesis of many human infectious and inflammatory diseases. It is particularly exciting that we are already seeing a return on these scientific investments with the emergence of novel therapies to harness the power of the innate immune system. In this review we explore the defining characteristics of the innate immune system, and through more detailed examples, we highlight recent breakthroughs that have advanced our understanding of the role of innate immunity in human health and disease.
Copyright 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.