Medical Definition of cachectin
: tumor necrosis factor In 1985 a New York research group identified a protein, which they called cachectin, that causes emaciation in many patients with chronic infections or cancer. Shortly afterward, another group realized that cachectin was identical to tumor necrosis factor, a cancer-fighting substance manufactured by the cells of the immune system.—Gordon Bakoulis Bloch, Discover, April 1990
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