Molecular probing of TNF: From identification of therapeutic target to guidance of therapy in inflammatory diseases

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Therapy by blocking tumor necrosis factor (TNF) activity is highly efficacious and profoundly changed the paradigm of several inflammatory diseases. However, a significant proportion of patients with inflammatory diseases do not respond to TNF inhibitors (TNFi). Prediction of therapeutic response is required for TNFi therapy. Isotope labeled anti-TNF antibodies or TNF receptor have been investigated to localize TNF production at inflammatory tissue in animal models and in patients with inflammatory diseases. The in vivo detection of TNF has been associated with treatment response. Recently, fluorophore labeled anti-TNF antibody in combination with confocal laser endomicroscopy in patients with Crohn's disease yielded more accurate and quantitative in vivo detection of TNF in the diseased mucosa. More importantly, this method demonstrated high therapeutic predication value. Fluorophore labeled TNF binding aptamers in combination with modern imaging technology offers additional tools for in vivo TNF probing.

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