Drugs acting on the immune system
The immune system discriminates self from non-self allowing it to destroy infectious invaders or tumors while leaving normal cells intact. Two components, innate and adaptive provide an early active response and an antigen-specific response, respectively. Innate immunity is comprised of complement, granulocytes, monocytes/macrophages, natural killer cells, mast cells, and basophils, whereas B and T lymphocytes are the main cell types of adaptive immunity.
The immune system is of tremendous importance in human disease. Examples of immunological diseases include autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes mellitus and rheumatoid arthritis, malignancies, and asthma and other allergic conditions. Therapies exist and more are being developed to treat these immunological diseases.
Drug classes which modulate the immune response act as immunosuppressants or immunostimulants by interacting with specific receptors and cellular components of the innate and adaptive response.