Abnormal immune responses can trigger a range of autoimmune diseases, in which an individual’s immune system is attacking normal tissues in the body. Well-known examples of autoimmune diseases are type 1 diabetes mellitus, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.
Ideally, one would like to harness the immune system to attack abnormal substances or tissues like cancer, while sparing the normal (unaffected) tissue. Many tumor cells produce antigens (proteins) that theoretically ought to trigger an immune response: that is, one’s immune system ought to recognize cancer cells as somehow foreign or abnormal, and thereafter eliminate these cells from the body. The field of cancer immunotherapy is actively pursuing this study.
Tumor antigens may also be useful for diagnostic tests; high levels of tumor antigens could be taken as markers or indicators of cancer. In this assignment, you will be examining levels of tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) as determined from immunoassays (i.e., biochemical tests that measure the concentrations of the tumor-associated antigens in serum samples).
BONUS. In the above, we pooled all cases together. Summarize whether you think this is legitimate or whether the levels of any of the TAAs appear to differ significantly between the cases from China and the cases from Korea. Provide evidence in support of your conclusion.