Imagine the human body has access to infinite energy through some magic. How could that be useful in any capacity to "boost" the immune system? By boost I mean more resistance to disease, and ideally the capacity to naturally heal from disease that normally require medical treatment (my go-to example being cancer).

What would be the effects of an hyperactive immune system? I've read allergies, fever and other symptoms are signs the immune system is fighting something it considers harmful, or am I misinterpreting something?

Note: Assume you can channel the energy exactly where you need it, in the exact appropriate quantity.

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    $\begingroup$ It's not enough for a full answer, but consider the effects on procreation. Strictly speaking, the fetus could be considered a foreign body by the immune system. You need some mechanism in place to prevent that, or your heightened immune system comes with some very interesting reproductive issues, decreasing rather than increasing the individual's overall fitness. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Apr 27 '16 at 12:01

I don't think giving your immune system merely more energy will work as you intend. All it will do is performing what it already does more quickly. So yes, a flu might be fought off before it has time to actually break out. Your cold gets stopped before it gets started.

However, there are quite a few diseases thanks to the immune system not recognizing something that needs to be fought off. Cancer is one of those examples -- the cancerous growth is not recognized by the immune system as cells to kill off, and so it can spread. Immunotherapy already exists today and can be used to make the immune system kill off cancer; however in most cases it requires outside help like certain proteins that paint a target on the cancer cells.

Another example of the immune system not recognizing something would be HIV. The virus infiltrates the immune system itself, and masks itself as immune cells. Does that mean that the HIV cells also get the unlimited energy!?!

Additionally, unlimited energy might make your immune system overactive. I am not talking about the time when the immune cells go into a kill-invader-frenzy, but when they are so bored/misconfigured that they target benign substances. This can result in allergies (hypersensitivity) and autoimmune diseases (attack useful body cells like lung tissue or nerves). Not to mention that organ transplants will be rejected nearly immediately.

So, unless you don't only give your immune system more energy but also a better targeting system, you will definitely not make humanity disease-free.

Might create an interesting setting though, where you have to decide: do I want to boost my immune system until that darn cold's gone, when there's the risk of rejecting my transplanted kidney / developing an allergy / developing an autoimmune disease? Or: This illness is so severe that we MUST work with an immune system boost -- but we must be really careful that we don't worsen the existing allergy / autoimmune disease to the point where the allergy becomes more deadly than the illness.

Symptoms of an immune system in full 'fight-off-invader' mode:

  • fever (raise body temperature to make life more inhospital for invading organisms)
  • swollen lymph nodes (lymphatic system transports a lot of immune cells)
  • high white bloodcell count (might be raised to a ridiculous degree in your case since you've got unlimited energy to produce more -- which might carry its own issues)

Allergies are NOT a symptom of an active immune system!

  • $\begingroup$ Faster healing is half of my goal, so there's that. The overractivity wasn't unexpected, and it does give me a good reason why the ability might kill you. As for the other half, if medical treatment is still required, would this ability at least increase the treatment's efficiency/potency? $\endgroup$ Apr 27 '16 at 9:43
  • $\begingroup$ In the case of immunotherapy for cancer - yes, definitely. However, for autoimmune diseases this ability worsens it in every case, since the only treatment (currently) is suppressing the immune system. Same for rejection of foreign-donor tissue transplantation. $\endgroup$
    – subrunner
    Apr 27 '16 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ And faster healing -- if you are talking about wounds, the only effect of your ability will be preventing infection. Wound healing otherwise has little to do with the immune system (blood needs to clot, regular tissue cells need to multiply to close the gap, etc.) $\endgroup$
    – subrunner
    Apr 27 '16 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ Could the extra energy help with any of that? Like maybe help the cells to multiply faster. $\endgroup$ Apr 27 '16 at 10:46
  • $\begingroup$ If you design your energy like 'increased cell multiplication' for all cells, that will help you with wound healing (while keeping the immune system boost). However, that has its own host of problems like increased cancer risk and, when used for large-scale body-wide healing of all cells, premature aging. $\endgroup$
    – subrunner
    Apr 27 '16 at 10:53

If you mean kinetic energy, adding kinetic energy to a particular part of the body usually relaxes it. Blood flow frequently increases. Increased blood flow means that the immune system can sometimes deal differently with the related tissue.

Cancer get's today already treated by focusing energy through radiction on specific parts. If the magic can identify successfully which cells are cancerous it can also kill those cells.


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