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Breast Cancer Cells Alter Function of NK Cells to Prevent Metastases

Oct 6, 2020 10:07:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, NK Cells


Johns Hopkins University’s scientists have discovered that breast cancer cells can change the function in natural killer cells so they prevent metastases.

Natural killer (NK) cells play a significant role in the body’s defense against tumors and viral infections. The antitumor capacity involves an antimetastatic component, but it is now known that tumor cells can evade the antimetastatic effect of NK cells. Invasive breast cancer cells are vulnerable to healthy NK cells (unchanged NK cells not exposed to a tumor environment). The researchers found that NK cells exposed to cancer cells lose their cytotoxic and antimetastatic properties, allowing metastatic growth to proceed. The goal of a recent study was to determine how metastatic breast cancer cells escape NK-cell antimetastatic activity.

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Editing NK Cells Produces More Potent Cancer Killers

Sep 15, 2020 10:07:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, NK Cells


Researchers at the University of California San Diego used natural killer cells in a study as immunotherapeutic agents. They found that the natural killer cells are effective in ridding tumor cells from the body. 

Immunotherapy for cancer treatment is rapidly emerging, and many studies are aimed at increasing the safety and efficacy of anti-tumor immunotherapy. Although T cells have been extensively studied, more research is being conducted on the use of natural killer (NK) cells as immunotherapeutic agents. NK cells are lymphocytes of the immune system capable of attacking and killing virus-infected and tumor cells. NK cells can lyse tumor cells without prior activation, but the potency of this effect limits its clinical use.

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Therapeutic Targeting of Follicular T Cells with Chimeric Antigen

Aug 11, 2020 10:07:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in T Cells, NK Cells


Cincinnati Children’s hospital laboratory led a study that discovered a possible treatment for autoimmune diseases using T cells and CAR NK-cells. 

Adaptive or acquired immunity is a specific response to pathogens. An important aspect of adaptive immunity and memory is the T-cell help to B cells. The support to B cells is provided by follicular helper CD4 T cells and entails helping B cells to produce antibodies against invading pathogens. Although follicular helper T cells are needed for long-term immunity, exaggerated responses of these T cells can lead to adverse reactions, including the promotion of autoimmune reactions.

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Inhibiting MDR1 Could Cripple Natural Immune Response to Cancers

Jul 21, 2020 10:00:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, T Cells, NK Cells


Studies find original efforts to inhibit MDR1 protein function may not be the best course of treatment for cancer patients.

The multidrug-resistant gene (MDR1) codes for p-glycoprotein, was first found in cancer cells and later in normal cells throughout the body. A basic function of MDR1 protein is to pump xenobiotic substances out of the cells as a protective mechanism. This function of MDR1 protein is also found in the blood-brain barrier, protecting the brain from chemicals in the bloodstream. Importantly, many cancer cell types with high levels of MDR1 expression were observed to exhibit resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs

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CAR NK-Cell Therapy for Patients with NHL and CLL

Apr 28, 2020 10:06:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cell Therapy, NK Cells, Blood Disorders


A cord blood-derived CAR NK-cell therapy targeting CD19 showed promising results for patients with NHL and CLL.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T–cell therapy has been used with some success for certain types of hematological malignancies. The medical scientific community considers the possibility of using this approach for a wider spectrum of B-cell malignancies. However, there are a few significant limitations that affect the widespread successful use of CAR T for these forms of cancer.

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