Cytokines refer to diverse non-antibody proteins that act as molecular messengers between the cells. Also, other terms are in use to describe specific type of cytokines. For instance, monokines are the cytokines that are produced by mononuclear phagocytic cells, interleukins are the cytokines that act as molecular messengers between leukocytes and lymphokines are the cytokines that are produced by activated lymphocytes. Cytokines are identified to regulate several immune processes and were known to be produced by immune system cells but now are known to be produced by the cells other than immune system and can affect the non-immune cells also. Cytokines can be categorized based on their function or their source of production, but since these are produced by various kinds of cells, their classification is not limited or restricted. Cytokines act by binding to cytokine receptor on the targeted cells that result in signaling cascade in those cells.
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Cytokines and their receptors have very high affinity between them and due to this; even very less concentrations (picomolar concentration) of cytokines can mediate a biological effect. The biological effect of cytokine can be autocrine, endocrine and paracrine. Cytokines exhibit autocrine action by binding to the receptor on the membrane of the same cell that secreted it. Endocrine action is exhibited by travelling through circulation and acting on the target cells present in distant parts of the body and paracrine action is exhibited by binding to receptors on a target cell that is in close proximity to the cell that has produced it. The regulation of cellular activity is facilitated due to the several attributes of cytokines such as redundancy, pleiotrophy, synergism and antagonism.
Redundancy indicates that several different cytokines can mediate similar functions whereas; pleiotrophy indicates that cytokines exhibit many different functions. Furthermore, synergism results when the effect of two or more cytokines is prominent than the effect of the cytokines individually and antagonism is a result of the effect of one cytokine inhibitors or offsets the effect of another cytokine.
The market for cytokine based therapies and inhibitors hold impressive growth prospects majorly due to increased benefits of cytokine based therapies in treatment of cancer and other disorders along with increased feasibility of chemical synthesis of the cytokines. The market can be segmented on the basis of the commercially available cytokine therapies and inhibitors of cytokines and their receptors. In addition, a detailed analysis mapping the several therapies in four major geographies such as North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Rest of the World can be provided.
Interferon alpha – 2b (Schering Plough), Interferon alfa -2a recombinant (Roche Diagnostics) and GeSysin rhG-CSF (NCPC Gene Biotechnology Co., Ltd) are some of the examples of approved cytokine therapies. Moreover, an analysis can be provided including the emerging cytokine therapies in the market. Interferons are induced in response to viral infections, tumor necrosis factors are basically involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis and is instrumental in genesis of liver, Cachexia and anemia by activating platelets.
The major factors favoring the growth of the market are increasing research and development activities in deciphering and understanding several signaling mechanisms in the body along with several benefits of cytokine therapies. In addition, consistent technological advances in immunological diagnostic and therapeutic technologies, along with increased investments by several market players towards development of effective cytokine therapies would further propel the market growth. On the contrary, factors such as lack of technical expertise along with high costs involved in new product development and therapy costs might restrain the market growth. Development of cytokine based therapies promises lucrative business opportunities for the market players as it is one of the prominent areas of immunodiagnostic therapies. Roche Diagnostics, Immunochemistry Technologies LLC and Merck/Schering Plough are some of the companies competing in this market.