Immunotherapy is a medical term defined as "Treatment of disease by inducing, enhancing, or suppressing an immune response".
Immunotherapies designed to elicit or amplify an immune response are classified as Activation Immunotherapies.
Immunotherapies designed to reduce, suppress or more appropriately direct an existing immune response, as in cases of autoimmunity or allergy, are classified as Suppression Immunotherapies.
The active agents of immunotherapy are collectively called immunomodulators. They are a diverse array of recombinant, synthetic and natural preparations, often Cytokines.
Some of these substances, such as granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), interferons, imiquimod and cellular membrane fractions from bacterial microorganisms are already licensed for use in patients.
Others including IL-12, various chemokines, synthetic cytosine phosphate-guanosine (CpG), oligodeoxynucleotides and glucans are being currently investigated extensively in clinical and preclinical studies. Immunomodulatory regimens offer an attractive approach as they often have fewer side effects than existing drugs, including less potential for creating resistance in microbial diseases.
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