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What is TNF?

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TNF is shorthand for "tumor necrosis factor," a substance in your body that causes inflammation or swelling. Inflammation happens when your immune system -- your body’s natural defense force -- is fighting a possible threat.

Having the right balance of TNF in your body is important. If you’re healthy, your body naturally blocks any extra TNF you might have. But with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, that doesn't happen and you end up with too much TNF in your blood. That leads to inflammation and painful symptoms typically in your joints, digestive tract, or skin, depending on what disease you have.

From: How Does TNF Cause Inflammation? WebMD Medical Reference

American College of Rheumatology: “TNF Inhibitors.”

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care: “What Is An Inflammation?”

Arthritis Research UK: “The Science Behind the Success of Anti-TNF Therapy.”

Arundathi Jayatilleke, MD, assistant professor, department of medicine, division of rheumatology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia.

The Oncologist : “The Molecular Perspective: Tumor Necrosis Factor.”

UpToDate: “Patient education: Rheumatoid arthritis treatment (Beyond the Basics).”

FDA: “Information on Tumor (TNF) Blockers (marketed as Remicade, Enbrel, Humira, Cimzia, and Simponi).”

JAMA : “Non–TNF-Targeted Biologic vs a Second Anti-TNF Drug to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis in Patients With Insufficient Response to a First Anti-TNF Drug: A Randomized Clinical Trial.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Biologics Overview.”

Reviewed by David Zelman on August 23, 2018

American College of Rheumatology: “TNF Inhibitors.”

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care: “What Is An Inflammation?”

Arthritis Research UK: “The Science Behind the Success of Anti-TNF Therapy.”

Arundathi Jayatilleke, MD, assistant professor, department of medicine, division of rheumatology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia.

The Oncologist : “The Molecular Perspective: Tumor Necrosis Factor.”

UpToDate: “Patient education: Rheumatoid arthritis treatment (Beyond the Basics).”

FDA: “Information on Tumor (TNF) Blockers (marketed as Remicade, Enbrel, Humira, Cimzia, and Simponi).”

JAMA : “Non–TNF-Targeted Biologic vs a Second Anti-TNF Drug to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis in Patients With Insufficient Response to a First Anti-TNF Drug: A Randomized Clinical Trial.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Biologics Overview.”

Reviewed by David Zelman on August 23, 2018

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