possible to make unlimited amounts of pure proteins—just as the AIDS epidemic was making it essential to find a purer source of biochemicals than cadavers!

Interferon was the first cytokine to be tested on a large scale. Although it did not live up to early expectations of being a wonder drug, it does treat a dozen or so conditions, including a type of leukemia, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis, and genital warts.

In another cytokine-based cancer treatment, certain T cells are removed from tumor samples and incubated with interleukin-2, which the patient also receives intravenously. The removed T cells, activated by the cytokine, are injected into the patient. Interleukin-2 is also used to treat kidney cancer. In another approach, colony stimulating factors can boost the white blood cell supply in people whose immune systems are temporarily suppressed, such as those receiving drugs to treat cancer or AIDS, or transplant recipients.

Increasingly, cancer treatment consists of combinations of immune system cells or biochemicals, plus standard therapies. Immunotherapy can enable a patient to withstand higher doses of a conventional drug or destroy cancer cells remaining after standard treatment.

The idea of using the immune system to treat cancer is not new. In 1893, a New York surgeon, William Coley, intentionally infected cancer patients with killed Streptococcus bacteria after noticing that some patients with bacterial infections spontaneously recovered from the cancer. Sometimes "Coley's toxins" worked, although he did not un derstand their mechanism. Today we know that an immune system biochemical called tumor necrosis factor often underlies the body's success in overcoming cancer. However, researchers do not yet understand all of this molecule's effects sufficiently to safely use it as an anticancer drug. â– 

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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