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NK Cells(Natural Killer Cells)

NKMAX develops immunotherapy using NK cells (Natural Killer Cells).

Natural killer (NK) cells are a type of cytotoxic white blood cell that function within the innate immune system.
These cells play an important role in immune response since they are the first line of defense against dangerous infected or abnormal cells.
NK cells are the “first responders” constantly moving through the body looking for infected or abnormal (target) cells to destroy.
When a target cell appears, NK cells immediately recognize it and begin their attack.
NK cells are quick and effective at finding and destroying target cells.

The Functions and Importance of NK Cells

  • Able to detect abnormal cells and directly kill them without any specific antigens.
    Unlike T-cells, B-cells, and other immunocytes, NK cells can detect abnormal cells such as cancer cells and kill them immediately using the various immune receptors.
  • Controls the immune system.
    NK cells interact with dendritic cells (DC), macrophage, and T-cells in various ways and play a major role to control your body’s immune reactions and inflammatory reactions.
  • Effectively inhibits the proliferation, recurrence, and metastasis of cancer cells.
    NK cells effectively remove the Cancer Stem Cells (CSC) and Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) that contribute to the recurrence of cancer to inhibit the proliferation, recurrence, and metastasis of cancer cells.

NK Cell Activity and its Mechanism

  • NK cell activity is regulated by the interaction of receptors on the cell surface with their corresponding target ligands without the stimulation of specific antigens.
  • A normal cell will display peptides from normal cellular protein turnover on its class I MHC, and CTLs will not be activated in response to them due to central and peripheral tolerance mechanisms. When a cell expresses foreign proteins, such as after viral infection, a fraction of the class I MHC will display these peptides on the cell surface. Consequently, CTLs specific for the MHC: peptide complex will recognize and kill presenting cells.
    Alternatively, class I MHC itself can serve as an inhibitory ligand for natural killer cells (NKs). Reduction in the normal levels of surface class I MHC, a mechanism employed by some viruses and certain tumors to evade CTL responses, activates NK cell killing.
  • Activated NK cells synthesize various granular materials (perforin and granzyme) and secrete them from the cells to destroy the abnormal cells. Also, they secrete cytokine and chemokine such as IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha to work directly on the cells that carry the antigens and to control or activate the acquired immune cells.
NK Cell Activity and its Mechanism Diagram

Areas of Research Using NK Cells

In our body, there are more than 5,000 abnormal cells such as cancer cells, growing and dying every day. NK cell is the only cell that recognizes and attacks cancer cells. It can inhibit proliferation of cancer cells and prevent recurrence. The importance of NK Cells and the correlation between them and cancer has been widely documented since the early 1980s. It has since been proven that the activity of NK cells is more significant than the number of NK cells in our immune system’s fight against cancer cells. As a result, research about NK cell activity is being conducted world-wide.

Cancers Gastric cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cervical cancer, blood cancer
Aging and contagious diseases Herpes zoster, Alzheimer’s, senile diseases, human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, AIDS (HIV) infection, chronic hepatitis, etc.
Autoimmune diseases Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), systemic lupus erythematosus (Lupus), multiple sclerosis, etc.
Other Stress, chronic fatigue, anti-aging

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