Question: Theoretically if there was a disease that fed on the protein cells in the immune system could we hope to combat it?

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  1. I guess you mean the cells I work on? All cells contain a lot of different proteins, I am just working on one particular type of protein which is found in dendritic cells.

    Dendtritic cells, and other immune cells can become infected. HIV can get inside a a dendritic cell then spread around to other cells of the body. HIV infects other types of immune cells too and stops them from working properly. This is partly why it is so hard to treat; the cells which should fight the infection are actually being killed by it.

    If there was something that was infecting and killing our dendritic cells then we would be in quite a lot of trouble, because these cells are important for starting the immune response and making other cells react. I don’t know if we can survive without any dendritic cells but I think we could try to combat a disease which was killing them. It would be pretty hard to do and you probably couldn’t just make a drug to do it for you. The important thing would be to try to stop the cells from dying.