Science Daily reported that scientists have done more research into “natural killer (NK)” cells. These cells act as a team to perform damage control during emergencies and protect our immune systems. Immunologists are interested in these responders, which are part of our natural immune system.

When scientists understand what these can do, they can be very helpful in targeting disease and understanding how our immune systems protect us. “There’s a lot of interest right now in NK cells as a potential target of immunotherapy,” says Joseph Sun, an immunologist in the Sloan Kettering Institute. “The more we can understand what drives these cells, the better we can program them to fight disease.”

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Sun and his team found that NK cells are ahead of T cells when protecting cells from potential harm. “This fits with the idea that NK cells are innate immune cells that are really critical for mounting a rapid response,” Dr. Sheppard says.

Scientists are hopeful that NK cell research can influence immunotherapy and cancer research. NK cells could even be used for cell therapy.

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