NCI Drug Dictionary

The NCI Drug Dictionary contains technical definitions and synonyms for drugs/agents used to treat patients with cancer or conditions related to cancer. Each drug entry includes links to check for clinical trials listed in NCI's List of Cancer Clinical Trials.

recombinant interferon alfa
A class of naturally-isolated or recombinant therapeutic peptides used as antiviral and anti-tumor agents. Alpha interferons are cytokines produced by nucleated cells (predominantly natural killer (NK) leukocytes) upon exposure to live or inactivated virus, double-stranded RNA or bacterial products. These agents bind to specific cell-surface receptors, resulting in the transcription and translation of genes containing an interferon-specific response element. The proteins so produced mediate many complex effects, including antiviral effects (viral protein synthesis); antiproliferative effects (cellular growth inhibition and alteration of cellular differentiation); anticancer effects (interference with oncogene expression); and immune-modulating effects (natural killer cell activation, alteration of cell surface antigen expression, and augmentation of lymphocyte and macrophage cytotoxicity). Check for active clinical trials using this agent. (NCI Thesaurus)

Synonym:alpha interferon
leukocyte interferon
lymphoblast interferon
lymphoblastoid interferon
US brand name:Alferon