• Question: How do cells fight diseases??

    Asked by Luka to Remsha on 12 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: Remsha Afzal

      Remsha Afzal answered on 12 Nov 2018:

      Hi Luka,

      Without going into too much detail, our immune cells are the ones responsible for protecting us from dangerous agents like bad bacteria and viruses. Our immune cells are amazing because they can (for the most part) detect foreign invaders amongst the billions of our body’s other cells. We have different types of immune cells all involved in specialized kind of attacks and defense against different pathogens and together they coordinate how to act once our body encounters a bad disease-causing pathogen.
      You might be wondering how can an immune cell detect a bacteria? Well, bacteria release harmful chemicals into the body by latching onto our body’s other cells, which then destroys the structure of that body cell. This allows the bacteria to then eat up our cells’ energy and nutrients.
      Our immune cells, called white blood cells, can then recognize this toxic activity by the bacteria. A special type of white blood cell, called a phagocyte, is responsible for literally gobbling up the pathogens found in the body.
      Another type of white blood cell called a Lymphocyte can release ‘antibodies’- proteins that help to either destroy pathogens or make it easier for the phagocyte to do its job in eating up the pathogen.
      I hope that helped a bit. 🙂