Current research in immunology and immunotherapy is fully influenced by the self–nonself model of immunity. This theoretical model suggests that alloreactivity results in graft rejection, whereas tolerance toward self-antigens expressed by malignant cells facilitates cancer development. Similarly, breakage of immunological tolerance toward self-antigens results in autoimmune diseases. Accordingly, immune suppression is recommended for the management of autoimmune diseases, allergy, and organ transplantation, whereas immune inducers are used for the treatment of cancers. Although the danger model, the discontinuity model, and the adaptation model are proposed for a better understanding of the immune system, the self–nonself model continues to dominate the field. Nevertheless, a cure for these human diseases remains elusive. This essay discusses current theoretical models of immunity, as well as their impacts and limitations, and expands on the adaptation model of immunity to galvanize a new direction for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, organ transplantation, and cancer.

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