, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 259–267 | Cite as

Haemopoietic growth factors: their role in cell development and their clinical use

  • Nydia G. Testa
  • T. Michael Dexter


Mature blood cells are derived from haemopoietic stem cells which grow and proliferate to give rise to progenitor cells more restricted in their proliferation and differentiation capacity. These in turn give rise to cells belonging to any of the haemopoietic lineages. The haemopoietic growth factors interleukin 3, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, granulocyte colony stimulating factor, macrophage colony-stimulating factor and erythropoietin act on haemopoietic cells to promote cell survival, proliferation, differentiation and maturation, as well as many functions of the mature cells. These factors, now purified to homogeneity and molecularly cloned have recently become available. This has facilitated studies of their roles in cell production, and the range of target cells sensitive to them in vitro and in vivo in several species. The latter experimental data led to the first clinical trials where these factors have been used successfully in several clinical settings: erythropoietin to correct the anaemia of renal disease; granulocyte and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factors to accelerate haemopoietic regeneration after chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation, and in other situations where increase in the numbers of white cells and stimulation of their function were required. The results to date allow optimism; the clinical use of growth factors not only in haematology and oncology, but in wider fields of medicine may well constitute a major breakthrough in the near future.

Key words

cell function differentiation growth factors haemopoiesis haemopoietic regeneration leukaemia 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nydia G. Testa
    • 1
  • T. Michael Dexter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental Haematology, Paterson Institute for Cancer ResearchChristie Hospital and Holt Radium InstituteManchesterUK

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