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Complement therapeutics on the crossroads between inflammatory and infectious disease

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Fiona Roby.

The complement system contributes critically to an effective immune response and maintains the body’s integrity by facilitating the removal of debris, aggregates of immunoglobulins, and targeted microbial organisms and cells.

This elimination of debris, microbial organisms, viruses, cell fragments and toxins is achieved by stimulating their enhanced uptake and removal by phagocytic cells.

In addition to its scavenger function, complement can kill certain bacteria and directly lyse susceptible cells through the formation of membrane attack complexes. Complement activation products can also direct phagocytes to the infected areas of the body and drive immune cells into a stage of high alert to mount an inflammatory response.

While a compromised and ineffective complement system can dramatically increase susceptibility to infection, overreacting and insufficiently controlled complement activation can promote the transition from acute to chronic inflammation and inflammatory disease leading to the loss of vital tissue and organ functions. For some disease conditions, the pathophysiological contributions of inefficiently controlled complement activation were identified decades ago. Modern gene association studies, however, revealed a much wider spectrum of disease conditions where complement plays a pathophysiological key role. This underlined the need to develop specific therapeutic tools to treat complement driven pathologies as a clinical priority.

This presentation will introduce the various presently pursued strategies to treat complement dependent disease and discuss and compare their specific benefits and possible side effects.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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