Since the interferons were discovered more than 25 years ago, researchers and clinicians
have hoped that they would be beneficial in the treatment of numerous clinical disorders.
Much has been learned about the mechanisms of action of interferon-α, β, and γ, but,
unfortunately, this group of biologic agents has been found to be useful in only a
few disorders, such as dendritic keratitis and hairy-cell leukemia. Because the effects
of interferons encompass a broad area of biology (that is, they may influence antiviral,
antiproliferative, direct lytic, or immunoregulatory activity), they have been tested
in a wide array of disorders, at times with little direct scientific basis.
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© 1989 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.