Transfer factor (TF) is a lymphocyte extract of low molecular weight capable of transferring antigen-specific information to T-lymphocytes. A number of reports have documented its efficacy in the control of acute viral infections, particularly those associated with herpes viruses. There have been also several reports of clinical trials utilizing Epstein-Barr Virus-specific TF in associated malignancies, particularly Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. One of the more important advances in the field has been the ability to produce standardized TF in tissue culture or by animal immunization, allowing the opportunity to develop well-controlled clinical trials, and the possibility to replicate them in independent studies. This review discusses the studies that have provided the best information regarding the efficacy of TF in fighting viral infections and suggests areas where clinical trials could be most useful, such as the prevention of human papilloma virus induced cervical cancer and human T-cell lymphotropic virus induced adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma.
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