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December 4, 1981

The Revolution in Clinical Immunology

JAMA. 1981;246(22):2567-2572. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320220019006

Advances in Immunology 

JAMA:  In your opinion, what have been some of the major recent advances in immunology?

Fauci:  There have been a number of extremely exciting advances in the area of immunology during the past few years that surely will have relevance in clinical medicine [Table]. Three of the most important are (1) molecular genetic approaches to immunologic reactivity; (2) hybridization of immunocompetent cells; and (3) delineation of the regulatory mechanisms of the immune response.

Molecular Genetic Approaches to Immunologic Reactivity  This is an extremely complex and sophisticated area of research whereby scientists have been able to isolate and determine the DNA sequences of various genes involved in coding for critical immune functions. For example, sequencing of the genes that code for the heavy and light chains of immunoglobulin molecules has led to exciting realizations of how the genes lead to immunoglobulin production through physical rearrangements of the DNA.