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August 22, 1977

Immunotherapy With Transfer Factor

JAMA. 1977;238(8):891. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280090055026

Several years ago, H. Sherwood Lawrence, MD, reported that it was possible to transfer delayed-type skin reactivity from sensitive human donors to unreactive recipients, with materials from disrupted blood leukocytes. This finding was in sharp contrast to the previous observations in guinea pigs in which there was an obligatory requirement for living lymphoid cells for achievement of passive transfer. The longevity of the passively acquired reactivity was also different. In guinea pigs, the transferred reactivities were lost within a few days unless inbred animals were used; in man, the state of hypersensitivity lasted for many months, even when allogeneic relationships existed between the donors and recipients. The component of the lysates that was responsible for this activity was designated "transfer factor."

For several years, transfer factor rested as an immunologic curiosity. Little was known about its composition or mechanism of action. Attempts to investigate the phenomenon of transfer of delayed