This Focus issue brings together the cornucopia of strategies that pathogens and tumors utilize to avoid immune recognition. Here Rodney Phillips discusses some general principles that emerge from this analysis.
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I thank C. Bangham, M. Maiden, D. Watkins and P. Klenerman for lively discussions over many years. The Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research was built by the Wellcome Trust for the University of Oxford. Supported by the Wellcome Trust.