In the past decade an exponential growth in therapies which manipulate the immune system and host defense mechanisms has produced immunotherapeutic agents such as immune globulin and monoclonal antibodies with efficacy in fields such as oncology, transplantation, and autoimmune diseases. In the critical care setting, potential immunotherapies include recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and interleukin 1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist. Although more traditional pharmacological agents are also able to modulate the immune system, the following discussion will be confined to these novel biological immunotherapies.
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