An Overview of Cytokines and Cytokine Antagonists as Therapeutic Agents


Address for correspondence: Raymond P. Donnelly, Ph.D., FDA CDER, Bldg 29A, Room 3B-15, 29 Lincoln Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892. Voice: 301-827-1776; fax: 301- 480-3256.


Cytokine-based therapies have the potential to provide novel treatments for cancer, autoimmune diseases, and many types of infectious disease. However, to date, the full clinical potential of cytokines as drugs has been limited by a number of factors. To discuss these limitations and explore ways to overcome them, the FDA partnered with the New York Academy of Sciences in March 2009 to host a two-day forum to discuss more effective ways to harness the clinical potential of cytokines and cytokine antagonists as therapeutic agents. The first day was focused primarily on the use of recombinant cytokines as therapeutic agents for treatment of human diseases. The second day focused largely on the use of cytokine antagonists as therapeutic agents for treatment of human diseases. This issue of the Annals includes more than a dozen papers that summarize much of the information that was presented during this very informative two-day conference.