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Introduction of Immunotherapy

Facts about the immune system

Antibodies, immune complex and autoimmunity

Kidney disease and the immune system

How does Immunotherapy treat kidney diseases?

Facts about the immune system

What is immune system? The immune system is the body's defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease. Diseases may happen when the immune system goes wrong.

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Antibodies, immune complex and autoimmunity

Antibodies are just proteins, but they have important functions. They can identify dangerous foreign "dangerous objects" in the blood, such as bacterial and viruses. There are different types of antibodies and they have different structure. Each different type of antibody recognizes certain bacteria and viruses.

Immune complex, also known as antibody-antigen complex, occurs from the binding of antibody to an antigen. Immune complex molecules help in fighting against diseases. However, sometimes individuals form auto antibodies that attack the person' s own tissues and cause autoimmune diseases.

The binding of the antigen and antibody is an important part of a healthy immune system. For example, if a person is exposed to a disease-causing organism, the white blood cells, also known as B cells, will cause the production of an antibody. The new molecule composed from the bonding of an antigen and an antibody is an immune complex. Usually, macrophages in the spleen and Kupffer cells in the liver remove these molecules. Macrophages are white blood cells that exist within tissue. One macrophage can eat more than 100 bacteria before dying. If the immune complex clusters are not removed by macrophages or Kupffer cells, they then continue circulating. Eventually, they become trapped in human tissues and can cause diseases.

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Kidney disease and the immune system

It is suspected that kidney disease is caused by an immune system dysfunction. There are two ways in which the immune system can hurt our kidneys: the first is the formation of auto-antibodies, antibodies that attack what they are suppose to defend, and in those cases autoimmune diseases will occur, such as Lupus Nephritis; and the other is caused by immune complex dysfunction that forms after an infection such as strep or staph. The garbage that is picked up in the bloodstream because of the infection is then sent to the kidney.

Due to the low immunity or immune disorder, in this instance immune complex that on their way to the bladder, gets stuck in the kidney which activates immune system to wage a war inside of the kidney in order to get rid of the garbage. In rapidly occurring kidney disease it is as if a bomb went off and punched holes in the kidney. One theory is that something the immune system sees as invaders are deposited on the kidneys. The antibodies are doing their best, waging a war against the enemy but are attacking the kidneys instead.

Between 85 and 90 percent of all kidney disease is caused by an inappropriate immune response. Case studies have suggested that reducing the immune complexes and abnormal antibodies may help slow further damages to the kidneys. However, immunosuppressive medicine treatment in clinical practice seems don't block relapses of kidney damage and avoid onset of chronic kidney failure. Immunotherapy may hopefully solve unsolved problem in conventional treatments.

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How does Immunotherapy treat kidney diseases?

Immunotherapy is a systemic treatment system for kidney disease. It consists of several treatment procedures that are interlinked with each other.

Scientific diagnosis:

The diagnosis techniques are different from routine ones. In different types of kidney diseases, the types of antibodies or immune complex that result in kidney damage also vary. Conventionally the patients may need to remove a section of kidney tissue to determine the pathological type of kidney disease. In the diagnosis, no more renal biopsy but the patient undergo exams assisted by advanced techniques and analysis to test out which part of kidney is damaged(glomeruli endothelium, epithelium, mesangial, or tubular epithelium?), degrees of kidney damage, the types and amount of antibodies as well as immune complex, the immune status(immunosuppression or immune overactive), etc. Examples of tests commonly done include urine NAG, urine GGT, microalbuminuria, lymphocyte subset, blood Cys-C, etc.

Immune blocking.

Immune blocking solves the problem of repeated recurrences of kidney diseases.

The immune complex or antibodies deposit and attack the kidneys due to something wrong in the immune system. Those are viewed as foreign and trigger inflammation response which eventually target at the kidneys. Immunosuppressive treatment is essential because if the inflammation activated by the immune system is not stopped, damages to the kidneys will progress. However, proper type and dose of immunosuppressive medicine is the key to reduce side effects and avoid relapses.

The purpose of immunosuppression is to stop production of abnormal antibodies and immune complexes as well as inflammation. In this process the medicines are aimed at quieting the immune system. But inappropriate or heavy dose of the medicine may suppress the immune system and reduce immunity, thus making infections and relapses likely to occur. When the medicines are not powerful enough to slow down inflammation, symptoms can not be remitted and kidney condition may progress rapidly.

In immunotherapy, scientific diagnosis provides information for immune abnormality types and amount, immune reaction state and kidney damage degree which will guide prescription for the types and doses of medicines. In some cases, kidney immune disorder is refractory and can not be controlled by routine treatments. In immune blocking, experts have introduced immune drugs that are once used to treat autoimmune diseases on those refractory cases and have witnessed obvious remissions. Regular immune reexaminations accompany the whole immune blocking treatment process to confirm the immune system is balanced and the disease is well controlled.

Immune clearance

Advanced blood purification techniques are applied to clear up circulating immune abnormalities and other wastes in bloodstream, allowing purification of the inner environment:

Use blood plasma exchange or immunoadsorption to sift immune complexes and auto-antibodies out of the bloodstream. In some types of kidney diseases, such as acute glomerulonephritis and lupus nephritis, there exist large amount of antibodies that target at renal capillaries, glomerular basilar membrane and other renal tissues and can causes acute kidney failure or life-threatening to the patients. In early disease course, blood plasma exchange or immunoadsorption can save life and achieve short-term treatment effects.

In addition, other blood purification techniques such as blood lipid elimination may also be applied. High blood lipid and cholesterol in chronic kidney failure or Nephrotic syndrome may result in thrombosis and increase risks of heart disease or stoke. Other methods also include leukocyte elimination, blood perfusion, etc.

Immune regulation

It is the immune dysfunction that has caused production of immune complex and damage of the kidneys. In the above treatment process, western medicines and treatment techniques are applied to control progression of the kidneys. In immune regulation, traditional Chinese medicines are specially applied with targeted effect of rectifying the immune system, increasing immunity, repairing injured kidneys and improving kidney functions.

The effects of traditional Chinese medicine have been known---balancing yin and Yang, activating blood, nourishing Qi, etc. Here Yin and Yang refers to two extremities of things and Qi refers to immunity. By increasing immunity and repairing the immune system, the natural ability of degenerating immune complexes is enhanced; at the meantime, through dilating blood vessels and accelerating blood circulation immune complexes can be removed together with urine. Traditional Chinese Medicine is different from western medicine treatment which can get that quick treatment effect, so the patients need to insist on treatment and pay attention to daily care nursing

Immune protection

During immune regulation, the patients also pay attention to daily care nursing and do regular exercise to protect themselves from infections. Doctors may perform T-reg cell injection to improve their immune status. Regular check-ups to test out immune status, immune response extent and amount of immune complexes. As long as patients insist on treatment and take care for every detail in everyday life, there are chances of reconstructing the immune system and avoiding hazards of kidney failure.

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