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International Journal of Cell Biology
Volume 2016, Article ID 9259646, 11 pages
Review Article

Biologics for Targeting Inflammatory Cytokines, Clinical Uses, and Limitations

1The Department of Pathology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, 6997801 Tel-Aviv, Israel
2Galilee Medical Center, 22100 Nahariya, Israel

Received 9 August 2016; Revised 3 October 2016; Accepted 20 October 2016

Academic Editor: Paul J. Higgins

Copyright © 2016 Peleg Rider et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Proinflammatory cytokines are potent mediators of numerous biological processes and are tightly regulated in the body. Chronic uncontrolled levels of such cytokines can initiate and derive many pathologies, including incidences of autoimmunity and cancer. Therefore, therapies that regulate the activity of inflammatory cytokines, either by supplementation of anti-inflammatory recombinant cytokines or by neutralizing them by using blocking antibodies, have been extensively used over the past decades. Over the past few years, new innovative biological agents for blocking and regulating cytokine activities have emerged. Here, we review some of the most recent approaches of cytokine targeting, focusing on anti-TNF antibodies or recombinant TNF decoy receptor, recombinant IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) and anti-IL-1 antibodies, anti-IL-6 receptor antibodies, and TH17 targeting antibodies. We discuss their effects as biologic drugs, as evaluated in numerous clinical trials, and highlight their therapeutic potential as well as emphasize their inherent limitations and clinical risks. We suggest that while systemic blocking of proinflammatory cytokines using biological agents can ameliorate disease pathogenesis and progression, it may also abrogate the hosts defense against infections. Moreover, we outline the rational need to develop new therapies, which block inflammatory cytokines only at sites of inflammation, while enabling their function systemically.