interleukin-12

Definition / meaning of interleukin-12

One of a group of related proteins made by leukocytes (white blood cells) and other cells in the body. Interleukin-12 is made mainly by B lymphocytes and macrophages. It causes other immune cells to make cytokines and increases the growth of T lymphocytes. It may also block the growth of new blood vessels. Interleukin-12 made in the laboratory is used as a biological response modifier to boost the immune system in cancer therapy. Interleukin-12 is a type of cytokine. Also called IL-12.

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Source(s):

The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/)

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