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November 1998

Cytokine Therapy in Eye Disease

Arch Ophthalmol. 1998;116(11):1514-1516. doi:10.1001/archopht.116.11.1514

CYTOKINES ARE small antigen-nonspecific proteins, secreted by inflammatory cells and other cells, that act as intercellular signalers. Ever since the first cytokine to be produced in recombinant form, interferon alfa (IFN-α), emerged on the market in 1981, cytokines have grown into one of the biggest success stories of the biotechnology industry.1 For example, patients with cancer can now receive granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) for the prevention of neutropenia induced by chemotherapy, and erythropoietin is commonly used to ward off anemia associated with chronic renal failure. However, this explosion in the clinical use of cytokines has yet to reach very far into the field of ophthalmology. The following are ocular diseases in which the role of cytokines has been studied, and in which therapy based on cytokine mechanisms has been proposed or is in limited use.

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