When one of the parts of the immune system is missing or does not work well, we say that the immune system is deficient. Most often this involves missing or defective T- or B-lymphoctyes or inadequate production of antibodies. The result is that the body is vulnerable to infections that might otherwise be easily defeated.
Immunodeficiencies can be “Primary”, i.e., present at birth and usually genetic, or “Secondary”. Secondary Immunodeficiencies have many causes, including disease, malnutrition, aging, certain medications, chemo- and radiation therapy, and stress. Probably the most well-known cause of immunodeficiency, though not the most common, is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which can cause AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
There are some 185 Primary Immunodeficiencies recognized by the World Health Organization. Most common are those involving the production of antibodies and are called Primary Antibody Deficiencies (PAD’s). These disorders vary greatly in their underlying defects, but many of them can be managed and their symptoms mitigated by regular infusions of immunoglobulin.
Kedrion’s ongoing research and development has resulted in several immunoglobulin therapies for these conditions. Replacement therapy with immunoglobulin in primary antibody deficiencies increases life expectancy and reduces infection frequency and severity.
1. Abbas K. et al. “Le basi dell’immunologia. Fisiopatologia del sistema immunitario”. Ed. Masson Elsevier 2006.