Lecturer: Jack H. Dean, PhD, HonScD, DABT, Fellow ATS of the University of Arizona.
This lecture traces the development of the field of immunotoxicology from its beginning and early years to current research. The immune system protects the host from viral and microbiological agents, certain cancers, and the rejection of transplanted tissue. It is sensitive to injury by certain drugs or environmental agents. Immunotoxicology is the study of events that can lead to undesired effects because of the interactions between xenobiotics (i.e., chemicals or substances that are foreign to the organism or biological system) and the immune system. Drivers for the field were public concern about accidental exposure to several environmental chemicals such as dioxin or Agent Orange, polybrominated biphenols, certain cytotoxic drugs, and other agents. Topics of the lecture include the major scientists and laboratories, formative meetings, and chemicals studied during these early years. The development of regulatory guidelines for the testing of new environmental chemicals and drugs is also discussed.