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人工智能如何帮助我们解密人类免疫

纽约—在我最近参加的纽约科学院颁奖晚宴上,詹姆斯·P·艾利森(James P. Allison)对一群着迷的观众说 ,他在癌症免疫治疗方面的突破性发现,并非源于对癌症的关注,而是源于他对免疫系统运作方式的数十年基础研究。几周后,Allison和他的免疫学家同事Tasuku Honjo将被选为2018年诺贝尔医学奖得主。

多年来,Allison和他的同事们研究了一种可以抑制免疫系统的蛋白质。他们认识到,释放这种抑制因子可以解除对免疫系统的束缚,使其攻击和摧毁肿瘤。除此之外,Honjo和他的同事发现了另一种具有类似功能的蛋白质。这些基础研究已经促进了崭新而强大且对癌症有效的免疫疗法的发展。

但我们需要学习的还有很多。对一些癌症患者来说,免疫疗法革命使曾经濒临死亡的人能够过上健康的生活,而没有检测到患病痕迹。然而,免疫疗法革命仍处于起步阶段。由于一些尚不明朗的原因,许多癌症和病人(对这一疗法)根本没有反应。科学家们越来越认同其原因部分在于我们目前对人类免疫系统如何对抗疾病缺乏了解。在过去数十年艾滋病毒/艾滋病疫苗的研发工作里,我亲眼见证该目标迄今仍遥不可及。

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