Growth factors are group of proteins, which play an important role in the stimulation of cellular differentiation and cell division in the human body. There are different kinds of growth factors present in the human body. Some of the major growth factors include insulin-like growth factors, platelet-derived growth factors, epidermal growth factors, and nerve growth factor. Moreover, some cytokines, such as small proteins secreted by one cell to regulate the function of another cell, also act as growth factors.
Growth factors are mainly used in the treatment of chronic diseases, such as anemia, renal disorders, cancer, etc. For instance, erythropoietin, which stimulates the growth of Red Blood Cells (RBCs), is used to treat anemia. Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF) and Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor (G-CSF) are involved in the stimulation of White Blood Cells (WBCs) in cancer patients. However, abnormal production of growth factors causes several diseases. For instance, vascular endothelial growth factor provokes endothelial cells to penetrate tumor in blood capillaries.
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