Tumor Necrosis Factors

TNF – cytokines that kill tumor cells and participate in the inflammatory response. Leukocytes (white blood cells) produce TNFs under stimulation from interleukins. Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), also called cachexin or cachectin, is the most active in these processes. Recombinant TNF-alpha is a treatment option for certain types of cancer.

The spice turmeric (active ingredient curcumin) and the catechins in green tea also boost TNF-alpha. Overactive TNF production contributes to inflammatory autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Doctors sometimes use therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (MABS), such as infliximab and etanercept, to block TNF-alpha.

See also INFLAMMATION; LEUKOCYTERECOMBINANT DNA.

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