Interleukins, Interleukin-2 and IL-2
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Another form of immunotherapy we use at Cancer Treatment Centers of America is interleukins, which activate your body's own lymphocytes (white blood cells) to do their work. Interleukin is a generic name for a hormone-like substance produced by your body (certain blood cells, specifically), and can also be produced in a lab. Interleukins stimulate the growth of blood cells important to your immune system. Interleukins are particularly important as they regulate inflammatory and immune responses.
Interleukin-2, or IL-2, has been found to be effective in some people with melanoma, lymphoma, or with renal (kidney) cancer when it is administered alone or with your own lymphocytes that have been treated with IL-2 outside your body.
In addition to being an essential factor for the growth of T cells, IL-2 enhances various T-cell functions and natural killer, or NK, cell function. IL-2 also activates lymphokine-activate killer (LAK) cells, which are a type of killer T cell produced when lymphocytes are incubated with IL-2. LAK cells destroy tumor cells and improve the recovery of immune function in certain immunodeficiency states.
Side effects of IL-2 may include:
- generalized body edema (swelling)
- pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs)
- chills and fever
- headache, malaise, and other flu-like symptoms
- gastrointestinal effects include nausea, vomiting
- loss of appetite, diarrhea, and mucositis
- the effect of IL-2 on the kidneys is generally mild, but renal failure can result if severe hypotension occurs
- Biological Therapy (see Immunotherapy)
- Biotherapy (see Immunotherapy)
- Hormone Therapy
- Monoclonal Antibody Therapy
- Ovarian Cancer Vaccine
- Provenge® (for prostate cancer)
- Targeted Drug Therapy
- Tumor Tissue Repository
- YervoyTM (for metastatic melanoma)
- Zevalin® (for non-Hodgkin lymphoma)