Augmentation of the immune response with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and other hematopoietic growth factors

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Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor is by far the most widely used hematopoietic growth factor to augment immune responses. At present, the best secured effect is as an adjuvant cytokine for vaccination. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor can be delivered as gene-transduced tumor cells, as plasmid DNA, or as the soluble free granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor protein. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor must be present at the same site as the vaccine component. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor may also augment the effect of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies by enhancing various effector functions such as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and amplifying an idiotypic network response (ie, antitumor immunity). It may also be advantageous to combine granulocyte colony-stimulating factor with monoclonal antibodies (neutrophil and monocyte antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity) for tumor therapy. However, these growth factors might also induce immune suppression, which may hamper the contemplated effect of the growth factor. It is urgently warranted to better understand these dual effects on the immune system so that we can find optimal uses for the growth factors in various clinical settings.

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