Interleukin (IL)-6 is a cytokine with multiple biological activities. It contributes to host defense against pathogens, whereas accelerated production of IL-6 plays a significant pathological role in various diseases. Clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of tocilizumab, a humanized anti-IL-6 receptor antibody, for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, Castleman's disease or juvenile idiopathic arthritis, leading to approval of this innovative drug for the treatment of these diseases. Since IL-6 has been demonstrated to play a significant role in the development of various other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, tocilizumab can be expected to become a novel drug for such diseases as well.
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