Clinical immunology is an important study which looks at diseases that affect the immune system, including the failure of the immune system to carry out its job and growths (such as tumours) appearing.
Medical conditions that are related to the immune system include rheumatoid arthritis, chronic granulomatous disease and AIDS.
Diseases that are caused by immune system disorders are split up into two broad categories for ease of analysis.
The first area is ‘immunodeficiency’, which involves the failure of the immune system to respond to attacks, meaning that it is not carrying out its job and as a result causing a problem for the person concerned.
The second area is ‘autoimmunity’, which involves the immune system itself attacking the person concerned.
Hypersensitivities are also connected to the immune system, which are cases whereby the system’s response to harmless substances causes difficulties, possibly by responding to intensely.
This includes conditions like asthma and other allergies, meaning that Clinical Immunologists in the UK see a large number of allergy patients.This resulted in the formation of a Clinical Immunology sub-committee in 2006 to help communications between them and allergists.
They also study ways to prevent transplant rejection in organ donations and transplants. The most famous immune system based condition is AIDS, which is characterised by the lack of ‘helper’ T cells and macrophages (taken out by HIV).