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NK Cell Activity Test FAQs

NK Cell Activity Test FAQs List

  1. [Question]

    Who can take the NK cell activity test?

    [Answer]

    Anyone who wishes to check their immune strength as a health benchmark can take the test or any patient with a disease that is known to affect NK Cell activity, such as cancer, with the guidance of a physician, can take it for treatment monitoring and early detection of recurrence.

  2. [Question]

    What are the precautions before having the test?

    [Answer]

    Fasting is not necessary before the test. However, there are drugs (steroids, etc.) and diseases (severe diseases, immune diseases, including cancer) that may affect the test results, so consultation before examination is necessary.

  3. [Question]

    How is it different from other NK cell activity tests?

    [Answer]

    Existing methods of measuring the activity of NK cells requires separating the NK cells from the peripheral blood’s mononuclear cells or uses the radioisotopes. The entire process can be difficult and time-consuming. However, NK VUE, uses whole blood and is measured by a common ELISA method, so it is easy and simple to get the results. In addition, it measures both the cytotoxicity and immunomodulation function of the innate immune system.

  4. [Question]

    Are there any publications that can support the NK cell activity test?

    [Answer]

    There are many studies related to NK cell activity with various diseases and health conditions including cancers. There are also a few publications that have been published using NK VUE Kit.
    (Links to research study resources)

  5. [Question]

    Can NK Vue be covered by national health insurance, and what is the scope of the coverage?

    [Answer]

    The national health insurance has been covering NK Vue test, with an 80% deductible, for gastric cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer patients from July 1, 2016 (Ministry of Health & Welfare Notice #2016-104, Notice #2016-105). From January 1, 2018, the name of the test was changed and the reimbursement code became D7631. You may inquire with a medical institute where the test is available for further details about the insurance coverage.

  6. [Question]

    How do you interpret the results of NK cell activity test?

    [Answer]

    The results of NK cell activity test are categorized into four different zones: Normal, concerned, borderline, low.

    • Normal (≥ 500 pg/ml): Healthy NK cells. The immune response is strong.
    • Concerned (250 - 500 pg/ml): Temporary low NK cell activity is likely. Balanced lifestyle and daily exercise are recommended to improve immunity.
    • Borderline (100 - 250 pg/ml): NK cell activity is below normal range. Low NK cell activity may be caused by health-related condition or it can be an early sign of disease.
    • Low (< 100 pg/ml): NK cell activity is low and may be caused by a disease which can lower the activity of NK cells. A person may genetically have low NK cell activity although it’s not common.
  7. [Question]

    If the results are low, does that mean I have a disease?

    [Answer]

    NK cell activity test does not diagnose specific diseases, so a low result doesn’t mean that you have a disease. However, it has been demonstrated in many studies in the last few decades that patients with cancer usually have low NK Cell Activity (NKA), and that patients with low NKA are at a higher risk of developing cancer or other diseases.
    As a result, a person with low NKA should retake the test, within 2 to 4 weeks, once condition that may cause temporary low NKA are reduced or eliminated, such as acute stress, steroids and some other drugs, immune inhibitors, anti-cancer agents, etc. If a person’s NKA stays low, he or she should consult with a physician.

  8. [Question]

    What are the causes that affect the test result?

    [Answer]

    Severe sleep disorder, acute stress, lifestyle habits, and pregnancy may affect the test results. The drugs you are taking (steroids, anti-cancer agents, immune inhibitors, some inflammatory pain killers, antibiotics, cholesterol reducers, etc.) may also affect the results. If you are taking drugs, consult your physician before the test.


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