A patient's immune status clarifies whether and which problems are present in the immune functions. With a special procedure, the amount of certain white blood cells subgroups by percentage and absolute value can be measured in a blood test. This makes it possible to make exact statements about the body's cellular resistance; for example, whether the immune functions are overactive or suppressed. Based on these findings, targeted immunotherapy can then be developed for the patient.
The tables of the body's defenses
The human defense system is a true miracle of nature. Composed of about a trillion cells, it has the ability to react, learn and communicate spontaneously. The various building blocks are highly interconnected and so finely tuned that even the smallest changes in an organism can be detected. The tools available to the immune system are extremely effective and versatile.
The defense function is carried out by the white blood cells, the leukocytes. There are three main groups, the lymphocytes being the most important group. They determine what must done and represent the "intelligence" of the immune system, so to speak. The lymphocytes in turn divide into different T-cells and B-cells. A certain type of T-cells, the helper cells, are programmed to detect and destroy intruders such as viruses, bacteria and fungi, and also damaged cells. Another T-cell group, the suppressor cells, control the helper cells, which can also attack the body's own mechanisms in their overzealousness. In a healthy organism, the helper and suppressor cells have a precisely defined relationship to each other; i.e. 1.5 times as many helper cells as suppressor cells.
B cells, on the other hand, produce antibodies against a specific virus, bacterium, toxin or allergen and thus give a very specific immune response to a foreign body. A very important characteristic of B cells is their memory: Once antibodies have been formed against the measles virus, for example, they are released on alert of further occurrences. The B cells ensures immunity to some diseases for the rest of our lives.