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Interleukins are a subset of a larger group of cellular messenger molecules called cytokines, which modulates various cellular functions. Interleukins are not stored within cells but are secreted rapidly and briefly in response to a stimulus, such as an infectious agent. Like interferons, interleukins have a broad spectrum of therapeutic applications. Interleukin immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that stimulates the body’s immune system to fight melanoma (e.g., IL-2 agonist aldesleukin). On the other hand, interleukin inhibitors (Stelera, Taltz) are indicated for rheumatoid arthritis and plaque psoriasis, two prevalent autoimmune conditions.

Image for interleukin signaling pathway is depicted in the sketch for IL-6 The most recent comprehensive classification of interleukins from IL-1 to IL-38 uses a combination of sequence homology, receptor chain similarities, and functional properties. Interleukin products are divided into two categories, IL-agonist and IL-antagonist. For example, Aldesleukin (Proleukin) is an IL-2 agonist, an orphan drug indicated for metastatic renal carcinoma; and Anakinra (Kineret) is an IL-1 receptor antagonist Indicated for DMARD-resistant rheumatoid arthritis Another popular use of interleukin products is for plaque psoriasis, including inhibitors of IL-17 (brodalumab, ixekizumab, and secukinumab), IL-23 (guselkumab), or IL-12/23 (ustekinumab). The biosimilar interleukin market is attractive because of patent expiration of original interleukins and their increasing use in skin care (skin psoriasis)

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Pharmacotherapy: Understanding Biotechnology Products

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