Interferons (IFNs) are a group of signaling proteins made and released by host cells in response to the presence of pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, or tumor cells. In a typical scenario, a virus-infected cell will release interferons causing nearby cells to heighten their anti-viral defenses.
In 1969,Sidney Pestka is an American biochemist and geneticist who is Emeritus Professor of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
His work with IFN-? has led to cancer therapy with interferons and the use of interferon for the treatment of chronic Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C preventing development of liver cancer due to hepatitis. IFN-? is approved for treatment of a number of cancers and is the only approved treatment for advanced melanoma. His developments related to IFN-? led to its use for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
From 1986 to 2011, he served as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey. He is currently Emeritus Professor of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, as well as Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of PBL Assay Science in Piscataway.