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Indian J Crit Care Med. 2008 Oct;12(4):181-9. doi: 10.4103/0972-5229.45079.

Biological agents targeting beyond TNF-alpha.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Govt. Medical College, Jammu (J and K) -180 001, India.


Biological agents represent an important addition to the therapies for immuno-inflammatory conditions and have a great impact on the disease course and quality of life of these patients. However, recent reports of serious infections like tuberculosis, demyelinating and neurodegenerative diseases, pancytopenia, cardiovascular diseases, etc. after anti-TNF therapy raised questions on their safety. Hence, focus is shifted towards drugs targeting cytokine checkpoints in the inflammatory cascades beyond TNF-alpha. Existing therapeutic targets include the biological agents acting as antagonists of various inflammatory cytokines (Anakinra, Tocilizumab, Atlizumab) and modulators of CD80 or CD86-CD28 co-stimulatory signal (Abatacept), CD2 receptors on T-cells (Alefacept), CD11a, subunit of leukocyte function-associated antigen 1 (Efalizumab), vitronectin receptor and CD20 antigen on pre-B, immature and mature B cells (Rituximab). With the introduction of these novel molecules the future for immunomodulatory intervention in rheumatology, asthma, crohn's disease, septic shock etc. looks very promising. These novel therapeutic agents could truly give a new hope to the clinician to modify the disease and achieve tangible improvements in the lives of the patients.


Biological agents; CD20 antigen; T-cells; cytokines; rheumatology

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