By L. G. Capra D.M.R.T. (auth.)

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There are several different types of prostaglandin. Increasingly they are being considered to be involved in immunological responses, they are capable of producing the classical features of inflammation. Interferons are synthesised by leucocytes and fibroblasts. It is believed that interferons have a role in preventing viral infections and have an inhibitory effect on tumour cells. Interest in their role in cancer therapy has been stimulated because the substances can now be produced more easily.

Today and Tomorrow 29 X-rays To the plain X-ray and contrast studies have been added the CATscan, subtraction radiography, lymphography, mammography, the list is constantly expanding. The CATscan, computerised axial tomography scan, was originally called the EMI scan after the firm that pioneered the method. A very narrow X-ray beam is moved in an arc around a patient. The emerging radiation at each point is registered by sensitive detectors on the opposite side of the patient. The amount of absorption in a grid pattern corresponding to the area of the beam is stored in a computer as a series of values.

Interest in their role in cancer therapy has been stimulated because the substances can now be produced more easily. Formerly extracted from human cells the yield was low, but by inserting the necessary genetic information into bacteria or yeasts so that they produce the interferon, much higher yields have been obtained. One use to which monoclonal antibodies have been put is to purify interferon. I t is not possible to give either full details of some of these biological processes or to discuss all the fascinating possibilities.

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