Lecture series 2007: The Conflicting Nature of Our Immune System: Protects from Invasion, Yet Attacks Itself

Fritz Melchers will join with renowned guest speakers to explain the conflicting nature of our immune system. This covers the cells of the innate and adaptive immune system and the defensive molecules it dispatches into the body's fluids. The immune system – described by Fritz Melchers as a collection of "double-edged swords" – protects from foreign intruders such as infections and tumors and develops a memory for intruders it has already encountered. This means that we can be vaccinated against many infections. Our immune system is normally dormant and does not attack our own bodies. In some cases, however, the immune defense attacks the very thing it is supposed to be protecting, causing autoimmune diseases. Individual "swords" may also be defective or become defective due to infections, such as the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) in particular. Some of these "swords" attack foreign intruders with such force and misdirected power that it also damages the body, such as with allergies or immunopathology. Other "swords" infect parts of our body and lead to tumors or deficiency diseases such as juvenile diabetes. All too often, defense is mixed with self-destruction in one immune system response.

The "immune system" field of research is of immense socio-economic significance, particularly with regard to the wide-reaching consequences of immune deficiencies, autoimmune diseases, allergies or cancer for the individual affected, as well as their environment and society as a whole. There is no vaccination available for many infections – HIV and tuberculosis being major examples. According to Fritz Melchers, we have only just begun to repair hereditary immune deficiencies through transplantation with healthy, grown stem cells. And we still have hardly any control over how the "two blades" are used to enable us to develop more effective vaccines or to learn how to suppress attacks on our own bodies.

Termine der Vorlesungsreihe:

jeweils dienstags von 18.15 Uhr bis ca. 20.00 Uhr,
Hörsaal RW 1, Neubau Recht und Wirtschaft, Jakob-Welder-Weg 9

Dienstag, 24. April Eröffnungsvorlesung
Unser Immunsystem –
Waffen zur Verteidigung unserer Integrität und Individualität

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Fritz Melchers
Dienstag, 08. Mai Das Waffenarsenal des Immunsystems
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Fritz Melchers
Dienstag, 15. Mai Die Produktion der Waffen
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Fritz Melchers
Dienstag, 22. Mai

Die Renaissance der Infektionskrankheiten:
Können wir uns (immunologisch) wehren?

mit Gastredner Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Reinhard Kurth
(Robert Koch-Institut, Berlin)

Dienstag, 29. Mai Die Mobilisierung der Waffen
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Fritz Melchers
Dienstag, 05. Juni

Klonieren, Stammzellen und Therapie: Chancen, Gefahren, Realität
mit Gastredner Prof. Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA)

Dienstag, 12. Juni
Die Beeinflussung des Immunsystems durch seine Umgebung
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Fritz Melchers
Dienstag, 19. Juni Volkskrankheiten Allergien: Ist zuviel Hygiene schuld?
mit Gastredner Prof. Dr. Harald Renz
(Philipps-Universität Marburg)
Dienstag, 26. Juni Die Haut als Induktions- und Zielorgan der Immunantwort
mit Gastredner Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Georg Stingl
(Universität Wien)
Dienstag, 03. Juli Autoimmunerkrankung: Folge des Verlusts
der Selbsterkennung des Immunsystems
mit Gastredner Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Jochen R. Kalden
(Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)
Dienstag, 10. Juli Abschlussveranstaltung
Erfolge und Grenzen der Immuntherapie maligner Erkrankungen
mit Gastredner Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Christoph Huber
(Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Fritz Melchers