Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Role For Natural Killers

Date:
August 28, 2008
Source:
University of York
Summary:
Scientists at the University of York have discovered a new role for a population of white blood cells, which may lead to improved treatments for chronic infections and cancer.

Scientists at the University of York have discovered a new role for a population of white blood cells, which may lead to improved treatments for chronic infections and cancer.

Related Articles


Natural Killer (or NK) cells are abundant white blood cells that were recognised over 30 years ago as being able to kill cancer cells in the test tube. Since that time, a role for NK cells in activating other white blood cells (including ‘T’ lymphocytes and phagocytes) and in directing how the immune system responds to a wide range of infections has also been established.

Because of these properties, NK have been widely regarded as being of benefit in the fight against cancer and infection, and methods to increase NK cell activity underpin a range of new experimental anti-cancer drugs and anti-infectives.

However, a research team in the University’s Centre for Immunology and Infection and led by Professor Paul Kaye, has now demonstrated that NK cells also make chemicals that inhibit immune responses.

The research, published in the latest issue of the journal Immunity, has shown that in an experimental model of the tropical disease visceral leishmaniasis, too many NK cells can actually make the disease worse. They have identified that NK cells produce a chemical called interleukin-10 that can counteract many of the otherwise beneficial effects of these cells.

Professor Kaye said: "Other researchers have suggested in the past that NK cells might not always be good for you, but we now have the first direct evidence that this can actually be the case. Although we have worked on an infectious disease, the same is likely to be true for NK cells in cancer. So, in practical terms, it means that we need to consider more carefully exactly how we use therapies that affect NK cells, to maximize their beneficial role."

The new findings also open up the potential of developing new drugs that specifically target the beneficial properties of NK cells, and which leave their inhibitory properties switched off. Conversely, in autoimmune diseases, where the immune system is too active, it may be possible to stimulate NK cells to turn it off.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of York. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maroof et al. Posttranscriptional Regulation of Il10 Gene Expression Allows Natural Killer Cells to Express Immunoregulatory Function. Immunity, 2008; 29 (2): 295 DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2008.06.012

Cite This Page:

University of York. "New Role For Natural Killers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080827164044.htm>.
University of York. (2008, August 28). New Role For Natural Killers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080827164044.htm
University of York. "New Role For Natural Killers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080827164044.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins