Biological response modifiers

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Biological response modifiers, also known as BRMs, are substances that the human body produces naturally, as well as something that scientists can create in a lab. These substances arouse the body's response to an infection. Some of these are used to treat arthritis, cancer, and some other diseases. Biologics include Monoclonal antibodies, Interleukin-2, Interferon, various types of colony-stimulating factors (CSF, GM-CSF, G-CSF)

"Immunotherapy makes use of BRMs to enhance the activity of the immune system to increase the body's natural defense mechanisms against cancer"[1] whereas BRMs for rheumatoid arthritis aim to reduce inflammation.

Some of the effects of BRMs include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fever and chills, muscle aches, weakness, skin rash, an increased tendency to bleed, or swelling.[citation needed]


Mechanism of action: A monoclonal antibody that binds to the glycoprotein receptor IIb/IIIa on activated platelets, preventing aggregation. Clinical use: Acute coronary syndromes, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. Toxicity: Bleeding, thrombocytopenia.

Etanercept (Enbrel)[edit]

Mechanism of action: Recombinant form of human TNF receptor that binds TNF. Clinical use: Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis.

Infliximab (Remicade)[edit]

Mechanism of action: A monoclonal antibody to TNF, proinflammatory cytokine. Clinical use: Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis. Toxicity: Respiratory infection, fever, hypotension. Predisposes to infections (reactivation of latent TB).

Rituximab (Rituxan)[edit]

Mechanism of action: A monoclonal antibody to CD20 surface immunoglobulin. Clinical use: Lymphoma

Trastuzumab (Herceptin)[edit]

Mechanism of action: A monoclonal antibody against HER2/neu (erb-B2). Helps kill breast cancer cells that overexpress HER-2, possibly through antibody-dependent cytotoxicity. Clinical use: Metastatic breast cancer. Toxicity: Cardiotoxicity.

Natural BRMs[edit]

Extracts from some medicinal mushrooms are natural biological response modifiers.[2]

High dose intravenous ascorbate[edit]

Intravenous high dose ascorbate is being used as a chemotherapeutic and biological response modifying agent.[3] Currently it is still under clinical trials.[4]

See also[edit]