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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index I > Category: Immunology

Immunology Quotes (13 quotes)

A cis-immunologist will sometimes speak to a trans-immunologist; but the latter rarely answers.
'Summary: Waiting for the end', Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology (1967), 32, 591.

A single kind of red cell is supposed to have an enormous number of different substances on it, and in the same way there are substances in the serum to react with many different animal cells. In addition, the substances which match each kind of cell are different in each kind of serum. The number of hypothetical different substances postulated makes this conception so uneconomical that the question must be asked whether it is the only one possible. ... We ourselves hold that another, simpler, explanation is possible.
Landsteiner and Adriano Sturli, 'Hamagglutinine normaler Sera', Wiener klinische Wochenschrift (1902), 15, 38-40. Trans. Pauline M. H. Mazumdar.
Science quotes on:  |  Blood (104)  |  Red Cell (2)  |  Serum (7)

According to the older view, for every single effect of a serum, there was a separate substance, or at least a particular chemical group... A normal serum contained as many different haemagglutinins as it agglutinated different cells. The situation was undoubtedly made much simpler if, to use the Ehrlich terminology... the separate haptophore groups can combine with an extremely large number of receptors in stepwise differing quantities as a stain does with different animal tissues, though not always with the same intensity. A normal serum would therefore visibly affect such a large number of different blood cells... not because it contained countless special substances, but because of the colloids of the serum, and therefore of the agglutinins by reason of their chemical constitution and the electrochemical properties resulting from it. That this manner of representation is a considerable simplification is clear; it also opens the way to direct experimental testing by the methods of structural chemistry.
'Die Theorien der Antikorperbildung ... ', Wiener klinische Wöchenschrift (1909), 22, 1623-1631. Trans. Pauline M. H. Mazumdar.
Science quotes on:  |  Blood (104)  |  Cell (137)  |  Chemistry (252)  |  Colloid (5)  |  Experiment (602)  |  Serum (7)  |  Structure (225)

Although the way ahead [for immunology] is full of pitfalls and difficulties, this is indeed an exhilarating prospect. There is no danger of a shortage of forthcoming excitement in the subject. Yet, as always, the highlights of tomorrow are the unpredictabilities of today.
From Nobel Lecture (8 Dec 1984), collected in Tore Frδngsmyr and Jan Lindsten (eds.), Nobel Lectures in Physiology Or Medicine: 1981-1990 (1993), 267.
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An immune system of enormous complexity is present in all vertebrate animals. When we place a population of lymphocytes from such an animal in appropriate tissue culture fluid, and when we add an antigen, the lymphocytes will produce specific antibody molecules, in the absence of any nerve cells. I find it astonishing that the immune system embodies a degree of complexity which suggests some more or less superficial though striking analogies with human language, and that this cognitive system has evolved and functions without assistance of the brain.
'The Generative Grammar of the Immune System', Nobel Lecture, 8 Dec 1984. In Nobel Lectures: Physiology or Medicine 1981-1990 (1993), 223.
Science quotes on:  |  Analogy (60)  |  Animal (359)  |  Antibody (5)  |  Antigen (2)  |  Brain (213)  |  Complex (95)  |  Immune System (2)  |  Language (228)  |  Nerve (70)  |  Vertebrate (16)

During the time that [Karl] Landsteiner gave me an education in the field of imununology, I discovered that he and I were thinking about the serologic problem in very different ways. He would ask, What do these experiments force us to believe about the nature of the world? I would ask, What is the most. simple and general picture of the world that we can formulate that is not ruled by these experiments? I realized that medical and biological investigators were not attacking their problems the same way that theoretical physicists do, the way I had been in the habit of doing.
‘Molecular Disease’, Pfizer Spectrum (1958), 6:9, 234.
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I have recently observed and stated that the serum of normal people is capable of clumping the red cells of other healthy individuals... As commonly expressed, it can be said that in these cases at least two different kinds of agglutinins exist, one kind in A, the other in B, both together in C. The cells are naturally insensitive to the agglutinins in their own serum.
Ueber Agglutinationserscheinungen normalen menschlichen Blutes', Wiener klinische Wochenschrift (1901), 14, 1132-1134. Trans. Pauline M. H. Mazumdar.
Science quotes on:  |  Blood (104)  |  Red Cell (2)  |  Serum (7)

I like to think that when Medawar and his colleagues showed that immunological tolerance could be produced experimentally the new immunology was born. This is a science which to me has far greater potentialities both for practical use in medicine and for the better understanding of living process than the classical immunochemistry which it is incorporating and superseding.
'Immunological Recognition of Self', Nobel Lecture, 12 December 1960. In Nobel Lectures Physiology or Medicine 1942-1962 (1964), 689.
Science quotes on:  |  Sir Peter B. Medawar (57)  |  Medicine (344)

It has been shown to be possible, by deliberately planned and chemotherapeutic approach, to discover curative agents which act specifically and aetiologically against diseases due to protozoal infections, and especially against the spirilloses, and amongst these against syphilis in the first place. Further evidence for the specificity of the action of dihydroxydiaminoarsenobenzene [Salvarsan ‘606’] is the disappearance of the Wasserman reaction, which reaction must … be regarded as indicative of a reaction of the organism to the constituents of the spirochaetes.
P. Ehrlich and S. Hata, 'Closing Notes to the Experimental Chemotherapy of Spirilloses', 1910. Reprinted in F. Himmelweit (ed.), The Collected Papers of Paul Ehrlich (1957), Vol. 3, 302.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemotherapy (2)

The organism possesses certain contrivances by means of which the immunity reaction, so easily produced by all kinds of cells, is prevented from acting against the organism's own elements and so giving rise to auto toxins … so that one might be justified in speaking of a “horror autotoxicus” of the organism. These contrivances are naturally of the highest importance for the existence of the individual.
P. Ehrlich and J. Morgenroth, 'Studies On Haemolysins: Fifth Communication', Berliner klin. Wochenschrift (1901), No. 10. Reprinted in Collected Studies on Immunity (1906), 82.

There is no sharp boundary line separating the reactions of the immune bodies from chemical processes between crystalloids, just as in nature there exists every stage between crystalloid and colloid. The nearer the colloid particle approximates to the normal electrolyte, the nearer its compounds must obviously come to conforming to the law of simple stoichiometric proportions, and the compounds themselves to simple chemical compounds. At this point, it should be recalled that Arrhenius has shown that the quantitative relationship between toxin and antitoxin is very similar to that between acid and base.
Landsteiner and Nicholas von Jagic, 'Uber Reaktionen anorganischer Kolloide und Immunkorper', Münchener medizinischer Wochenschrift (1904), 51, 1185-1189. Trans. Pauline M. H. Mazumdar.
Science quotes on:  |  Acid (18)  |  Antitoxin (2)  |  Svante Arrhenius (11)  |  Base (71)  |  Colloid (5)  |  Compound (58)  |  Crystal (53)  |  Electrolyte (3)  |  Reaction (62)  |  Toxin (7)

This whole period was a golden age of immunology, an age abounding in important synthetic discoveries all over the world, a time we all thought it was good to be alive. We, who were working on these problems, all knew each other and met as often as we could to exchange ideas and hot news from the laboratory.
In Memoir of a Thinking Radish: An Autobiography (1986), 135.
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What attracted me to immunology was that the whole thing seemed to revolve around a very simple experiment: take two different antibody molecules and compare their primary sequences. The secret of antibody diversity would emerge from that. Fortunately at the time I was sufficiently ignorant of the subject not to realise how naive I was being.
From Nobel Lecture (8 Dec 1984), collected in Tore Frδngsmyr and Jan Lindsten (eds.), Nobel Lectures in Physiology Or Medicine: 1981-1990 (1993), 248.
Science quotes on:  |  Antibody (5)  |  Attraction (36)  |  Autobiography (55)  |  Comparison (64)  |  Diversity (51)  |  Experiment (602)  |  Fortunately (8)  |  Ignorance (213)  |  Molecule (133)  |  Naive (10)  |  Primary (41)  |  Realisation (3)  |  Secret (131)  |  Sequence (41)  |  Simplicity (147)

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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