Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Growth Factor

Any of many naturally occuring, complex protein-based hormones and other substances that promote growth of specific types of cell; such factors may be generated in a wide variety of tissues and achieve growth effects both independently and interactively with similar factors. Stimulants of mitosis and cellular differentiation.

See growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor. Abnormalities in growth factors may be involved in benign and malignant neoplasia.

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From "Dictionary of Nursing and Individual Health Care"