What are the Therapeutic Uses of Interferons?



Interferon has been shown to have therapeutic effect against certain cancers and could supplement or replace chemotherapy drugs that activate p53. But they cause unwanted side effects.

In 1980s interferon D in low doses came into use, to treat hairy-cell leukemia (a rare form of blood cancer). Higher doses are recommended to combat Kaposi sarcoma, which frequently appears in AIDS patients.

The alpha interferon form has been approved for treating the viral infections also.

Now interferon therapy in combination with chemotherapy and radiation is in use for many cancers. Interferons (interferon beta-la and interferon beta-lb) are also used in the treatment and control of multiple sclerosis - an autoimmune disorder.

Use of various types of interferons has been approved in the treatment of certain cases of acute and chronic hepatitis. Interferon alpha and beta have been used to treat various viral infections.

Since interferons are species-specific they are scarce and expensive until 1980.

But the advances in genetic engineering (R DNA technology) made it possible to produce interferons on large scale for therapeutic purpose.