The growth and differentiation of blood cells is regulated by a group of at least 12 glycoproteins, collectively known as hematopoietic growth factors. Advances in protein biochemistry and molecular genetics have provided the tools for the bulk production of these hormones for clinical application. Clinical trials of macrophage colony-stimulating factor, granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, and interleukin-3 have all demonstrated significant effects on the peripheral blood counts of the recipients. The clinical usefulness of these agents in ameliorating post-chemotherapy myelosuppression, in the treatment of other cytopenias, and in enhancing engraftment after bone marrow transplantation has already been demonstrated. Potential applications to the therapy and diagnosis of other clinical disorders is under study. The history of the elucidation of these growth factors, our current understanding of their properties, interactions, and clinical effects, and the potential prospects for their future use in the manipulation of human blood cell production are the subject of this review.
(C) Copyright 1990 Southern Society for Clinical Investigation