A number of disorders can be treated with immuno-stimulating agents (also known as biological response modifiers or immunomodulating agents); these drugs enhance the body's immune response. These conditions include immunodeficiency diseases, cancer, some types of viral and fungal infections, and certain autoimmune disorders. The drugs may work on cellular or humoral immune systems or both.
Immunostimulating agents are nonspecific; they cause general stimulation of the immune system. Among the agents capable of general potentiation of the immune system are extracts and derivatives from bacteria, yeast, and fungi. They also include a variety of peptides, cytokines, and synthetic compounds. In most cases, the pharmacology of these agents has not been well described. The most commonly used agents are discussed next.
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