The immune system is the best weapon we have to defend ourselves against diseases and external aggression. What are the pathologies that can attack it, affecting its function? Professor Carlo Selmi, Head of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, a guest in Buongiorno Benessere studio on Rai1, spoke about this topic.

“We can define the immune system as an organ in every respect: a set of cells dedicated to defending our body from infection and to distinguishing what comes from outside compared to what is part of our body, at the same time avoiding the same kind of friendly fire against ourselves,” explained the professor.


Diseases affecting the immune system

“Diseases affecting the immune system can be divided into three categories: those linked to a reduced functioning of the immune system itself, i.e. immunodeficiencies, which manifest themselves with an increased risk of infection.

The other two categories are characterized by an excessive functioning of the immune system: autoimmune diseases, in which our body acts against itself (as in the case of rheumatoid arthritis), and chronic inflammatory diseases (such as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis).

It is rarely possible to recover from these diseases; in most cases they are chronic diseases. However, thanks to the treatments, which also include an adequate nutritional approach and other measures, we can promise patients with rheumatoid arthritis that they can live a normal life,” said the specialist.


The new frontiers of medicine

“Treatments in immune diseases, especially autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases, are a very good combination of the old and the new. In fact, we use both extremely important traditional drugs, such as cortisone and methotrexate, and brand new drugs, such as biologics, capable of hitting a single target, that is one of the cytokines that allows the dialogue between cells of the immune system.

The future will probably pass from the manipulation of the intestinal microbiota, the large volume of bacteria that each individual has in the intestine, as well as in the skin,” concluded Professor Selmi.


To watch the interview with Prof. Selmi, click here.