Archive \ Volume.3 2012 Issue 2


Alemu Tekewe

For the past four decades, the application of recombinant DNA technology and other novel allied technologies has opened the door for production of many proteins in large quantities that have become important new biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of many diseases. Hematopoietic growth factors (HGFs) are among the newer biopharmaceuticals that have approved and commercialized for the treatment of different types of diseases. The HGFs including erythropoietin (EPO), granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GMCSF), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCSF), macrophage colony-stimulating factor (MCSF), thrombopoietin (TPO) and interleukin-3 (IL-3) have been known for over 25 years, named for their role in the proliferation, differentiation and survival of hematopoietic progenitor cells. Especially, the recombinant forms of EPO, GMCSF and GCSF have been used for many years in clinical practice in oncological and hematological pathology. Recent studies suggest that HGFs have also important non-hematopoietic functions in the brain, heart, kidney and other organs. This review briefly summarizes the different physiological functions of the major HGFs. It also provides a critical and comprehensive overview of the different therapeutic applications of the recombinant forms of some of the HGFs.