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Dictionary of Cancer Terms

View in Spanish: IL-12

One of a group of related proteins made by leukocytes (white blood cells) and other cells in the body. IL-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. IL-12 made in the laboratory is used as a biological response modifier to boost the immune system in cancer therapy. IL-12 is a type of cytokine. Also called interleukin-12.

Source: National Cancer Institute Dictionary of Cancer Terms, available at www.cancer.gov/dictionary.