Protein therapeutics: a summary and pharmacological classification

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Once a rarely used subset of medical treatments, protein therapeutics have increased dramatically in number and frequency of use since the introduction of the first recombinant protein therapeutic — human insulin — 25 years ago. Protein therapeutics already have a significant role in almost every field of medicine, but this role is still only in its infancy. This article overviews some of the key characteristics of protein therapeutics, summarizes the more than 130 protein therapeutics used currently and suggests a new classification of these proteins according to their pharmacological action.

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We thank A. H. Tashjian Jr for many helpful discussions and expert review of the manuscript. D.E.G. is supported by NIH grants R37HL032854 and U54HL070819. Q.J.B. is supported by NIH grant T32GM07753. Portions of this article have been published in abbreviated form (Golan, D. E. et al. Principles of Pharmacology: The Pathophysiologic Basis of Drug Therapy (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004); Golan, D.E. et al. Principles of Pharmacology: The Pathophysiologic Basis of Drug Therapy, 2nd edn (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007)), and are adapted with permission.

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Correspondence to David E. Golan.

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Leader, B., Baca, Q. & Golan, D. Protein therapeutics: a summary and pharmacological classification. Nat Rev Drug Discov 7, 21–39 (2008) doi:10.1038/nrd2399

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