It is the major interferon produced by virus-induced leukocyte cultures and, in addition to its pronounced antiviral activity, causes activation of NK cells. It is used experimentally in the treatment of hairy-cell leukaemia.
A number of different subtypes exist that are elaborated by leukocytes in response to viral infection or stimulation with double-stranded RNA; IFN-alpha-2A and -2B are protein products made by recombinant DNA techniques and are used as antineoplastic agents.
Synonyms: leukocyte interferon.
(20 Sep 2002)
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