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October 26, 1984


JAMA. 1984;252(16):2198-2201. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350160066020

The past two years have been especially notable in that techniques first developed for basic research into mechanisms of host defense continue to be rapidly applied to investigation of human disease. This new applied methodology provides useful information about disease pathogenesis and new ideas for disease treatment. Although present regulation of the immune system at the clinical-therapeutic level continues to focus on "down-regulation" of apparent "hypersensitivity" with corticosteroids, cytotoxic agents, and the new T-lymphocyte suppressing agent, cyclosporine, attempts at augmentation of immune responses with new families of so-called biologic-response modifiers have now been initiated. This development has occurred as a result of the newly acquired capability to isolate, characterize, and produce the quantities of these compounds necessary for controlled clinical trials. Thus, potent immunoregulatory compounds, like interleukins and interferons, so far the most carefully investigated biologic-response modifiers, can be identified and mass-produced in cloned tumor cells or in bacteria functioning