Interferon therapy

Interferons (IFNs) are types of cytokinesAny of various protein molecules secreted by cells of the immune system that serve to regulate the immune system., natural cell-signaling proteins produced by the cells of the immune system, in response to challenges from pathogens and tumor cells. Interferon therapy is immunosuppressive, reducing in number both Th1 cytokines and immune cells.1)

Interferons are used in a variety of diseases including cancer, hepatitis C infections, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and Crohn's disease for these immunomodulatory effects. In the absence of a robust immune response to bacterial pathogens and the accompanying immunopathological reactionA temporary increase in disease symptoms experiences by Marshall Protocol patients that results from the release of cytokines and endotoxins as disease-causing bacteria are killed., patients feel temporarily better, however:

The immune system is activated by a delicate balance of many, many hormones, cytokines, proteins and steroids. To affect any one of these will suppress proper action of the immune system. If you give somebody exogenous interferon then their endogenous production will be cut back.

Trevor Marshall, PhD

The immunosuppression brought about by interferon therapy contributes to leads to numerous side effects and poor long-term outcome. It is not uncommon for the efficacy of interferon treatment to disappear within six months following discontinuation of therapy.2)

The most common side effects of interferon are: alopecia (hair loss), insomnia and sleep disturbances, psychiatric symptoms including suicidal ideation, and flu-like symptoms.

Types of interferon

  • interferon alpha 2a (Roferon A)
  • interferon alpha 2b (Intron A)
  • human leukocyte interferon-alpha (Multiferon)
  • interferon beta 1a, liquid form (Rebif)
  • interferon beta 1a, lyophilized (Avonex)
  • interferon beta 1b SubQ (Betaseron)
  • interferon gamma 1b (Actimmune)
  • pegylated interferon alpha 2a (Pegasys)
  • pegylated interferon alpha 2b (PegIntron)

===== Notes and comments =====

===== References =====

Sega S, Wraber B, Mesec A, Horvat A, Ihan A. IFN-beta1a and IFN-beta1b have different patterns of influence on cytokines. Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2004 Jun;106(3):255-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2004.02.010.
[PMID: 15177779] [DOI: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2004.02.010]
Myhr KM, Riise T, Green Lilleås FE, Beiske TG, Celius EG, Edland A, Jensen D, Larsen JP, Nilsen R, Nortvedt MW, Smievoll AI, Vedeler C, Nyland HI. Interferon-alpha2a reduces MRI disease activity in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Norwegian Study Group on Interferon-alpha in Multiple Sclerosis. Neurology. 1999 Mar 23;52(5):1049-56. doi: 10.1212/wnl.52.5.1049.
[PMID: 10102427] [DOI: 10.1212/wnl.52.5.1049]
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