Affiliation: Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, 675 McDermot Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R3E 0V9, Canada.
This short review was designed to draw the readerships attention to the following articles in the volume. Instead of providing a full summary of topics such as ageing of the immune system and the role of the immune system in ageing, the role of the immune system in the development of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, it signalizes these topics and provides links to articles that follow as well as to other available literature. Our intention was to provide a new perspective and strengthen the associations between inflammation, cancer, neuro-degenerative diseases, ageing and autoimmunity. The relationship between inflammation, oxidative stress, apoptosis, neurodegeneration and cancer is already, to a certain extent mirrored by attempts of the pharmacologic industry to cross-apply our current knowledge from these fields to develop new treatment modalities. For instance, strategies that modulate cellular redox potential are being applied to restrain inflammation (antioxidants), or to kill cancer cells (prooxidants). Activation of apoptosis or attenuation of resistance of transformed cells towards cell death induction is perhaps the most promising direction chosen by many pharmaceutical companies to develop new classes of drugs. Furthermore, rapidly developing areas of immunology and virology, combined with the tremendous progress in the field of cancer biology and pharmacogenomics, may lead to the occurrence of an unique treatment, based on anti-cancer viral vectors and even anti-inflammatory strategies, which combine multiple pharmacologic activities in a single bio-molecule.