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December 19 2015 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Interferons play crucial roles in the regulation of a wide variety of innate and adaptive immune responses. Type I interferons (IFN-alpha / beta) are central to the host defense against pathogens such as viruses, whereas type II interferon (IFN-gamma) mainly contributes to the T-cell-mediated regulation of the immune responses. Interferon alpha plays a critical role in the cause and perpetuation of specific autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), autoimmune thyroid disease and type 1 diabetes.
Interferon and Rheumatoid
Studies of bone destruction associated with rheumatoid arthritis have highlighted the importance of the interaction between the immune and skeletal systems. Recently, a new research area, termed osteoimmunology, has been spawned by a series of studies focusing on the signaling networks between interferon and other cytokines in bone metabolisms.
Alpha interferon is a form of interferon that is produced endogenously and commercially for its pharmacological effects (including regulation of the immune system and antiviral and antineoplastic effects)
Interferon treatment for Hepatitis C therapy
Currently, treatment of hepatitis consists of taking two medications: injections of interferon and pills called ribavirin. This is called combination therapy. A usual interferon treatment schedule involves injecting interferon one to three times a week, and taking the ribavirin pills two times per day.
Peg-Intron Interferon Treatment
is an interferon treatment indicated for use alone or in combination with
Rebetrol (Ribavirin, USP) Capsules for the treatment of chronic hepatitis
C virus in patients at least 18 years of age with compensated liver
disease who have no previous treatment with interferon alpha.
Pegylated interferon treatment
Hepatitis C virus is the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the United States. The advent of new treatment regimens using pegylated interferons in combination with ribavirin has led to improved sustained viral response rates for some genotypes in large multicenter trials.
Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), the principal Th1 effector cytokine, has shown to be crucial for the resolution of allergic-related immunopathologies. In fact, reduced production of this cytokine has been correlated with severe asthma.
hardening of the arteries
Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2015. Interferons as Essential Modulators of Atherosclerosis. Interferons (IFNs) are key regulators of both innate and adaptive immune responses. The family of IFN cytokines can be divided into 3 main subtypes of which type I and type II IFNs are most well-defined. IFNs are known to be important mediators in atherosclerosis. Evidence from both in vitro and in vivo studies shows that the IFNs are generally proatherosclerotic. However, their role in atherosclerosis is complex, with distinct roles for these cytokines throughout different stages of the disease.
and skin cancer
The commonest immune therapy for melanoma is interferon treatment which has been tested in melanoma for some years but it is still an experimental treatment. There is still no good consensus on the best interferon dose to use and scientists are still trying to find out why interferon treatment helps some people but is of no use to others, and how to limit interferon side effects.
Dermatol Res Pract.
2014. Interferons: Key Players in Normal Skin and Select Cutaneous Malignancies.
Interferons (IFNs) are a family of naturally existing glycoproteins known for
their antiviral activity and their ability to influence the behavior of normal
and transformed cell types. Type I Interferons include IFN- α and IFN- β .
Currently, IFN- α has numerous approved antitumor applications, including
malignant melanoma, in which IFN- α has been shown to increase relapse free
survival. Moreover, IFN- α has been successfully used in the intralesional
treatment of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma
(BCC). In spite of these promising clinical results; however, there exists a
paucity of knowledge on the precise anti-tumor action of IFN- α / β at the
cellular and molecular levels in cutaneous malignancies such as SCC, BCC, and
melanoma. This review summarizes current knowledge on the extent to which Type I
IFN influences proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and immune function in
normal skin, cutaneous SCC, BCC, and melanoma.
Interferon side effects
Alpha interferon causes frequent and multiple cutaneous side effects that affect both the skin and mucous membranes. Patients receiving this treatment must be informed of the principal adverse reactions (dryness and hair loss or discoloration) and must receive care for them if the underlying treatment is to remain acceptable. Alpha interferon may induce, reveal, or worsen some dermatoses and related inflammatory disorders (atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, sarcoidosis).
Interferon Increased with
Production of the natural virus-fighter, interferon, is decreased in fatigued athletes, but it can be restored to normal levels with a "probiotic" pill containing the beneficial microbe Lactobacillus acidophilus. The drop in interferon levels may play a role in the defective immune response against Epstein Barr virus (EBV), previously described in fatigued athletes. Most people have been infected with EBV; it can cause a number of diseases, including mononucleosis, and it has been implicated in chronic fatigue syndrome. However, the virus is usually kept in check by interferon. Researchers tested for EBV in 24 saliva samples taken from eight fatigued athletes before and after receiving a 1-month course of the probiotic capsules. In addition, interferon levels were measured in blood samples. Prior to treatment, five of the subjects had EBV in their saliva -- that is, they were shedding the virus because it was not being reigned in; after probiotic treatment, just one showed signs of virus shedding. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2006.