Our immune system - we take it for granted until it begins to fail us. Unfortunately, with a diagnosis of CLL, we immediately become lifetime members of a vulnerable group of immune compromised patients, forgotten/ignored or at the very least, poorly understood by society. We learn that we can't have live vaccines and that other vaccines don't work that well for us (but we should have the vaccinations anyway, because surviving the actual disease may no longer be a minor matter).
In this article, Steven Maltby, Post-doctoral Fellow in Immunology & Genetics and Vicki Maltby, Post-doctoral fellow, both at University of Newcastle, Australia, give a basic overview of how our immune system works to keep us safe from bacteria, fungi and viruses.
The article differentiates between our Innate immune response, which is mainly provided by our neutrophil white blood cells (which is most of them) and our “adaptive” immune response, provided by our B and T lymphocytes or as the article calls them, T and B cells (which make up most of the balance of our white blood cells). It's the B cells that escape the two quality control checks mentioned in the article and cause our CLL symptoms, which can include autoimmune complications sometimes observed in CLL.
Photo: Flame Heath (ASTROLOMA_CONOSTEPHIOIDES), with thanks again to Jay for the identification