What is anti-TNF and Tumor Necrosis Factor?

 

Perhaps many of you have heard the term “anti-TNF,” in reference to your medication like Remicade or Humira. What the heck is TNF anyway? Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) is a signaling protein in the human body that helps direct the immune system’s fighting ability. If it’s blocked by an anti-TNF antibody like Humira or Remicade your immune system becomes compromised and in theory and for some people this lessens the immune system’s ability to cause inflammation in the GI system, the hallmark of IBD. Like the name suggests it is also involved with killing cancer cells, so if you block it, naturally your risk of cancer is increased by a small but significant margin.