Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells)
NK Cells ( Natural Killer Cells ) – Non Targeted Immunotherapy
Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphoid cells originating from a common lymphoid progenitor in the bone marrow. It is an important type of white blood cell that quickly response to the non-specific foreign substances, which means when NK cells detect the foreign substances entering our body, it will take immediate action to kill it without going through the memorization whether such substances are encountered before for not. Therefore, NK cells can kill the pathogenic cells, foreign substances and can detect the infected cells such as viruses or cancer cells. If a person gets sick very often, we can conclude that the NK Cells amount of this person is low and the performance is not active, thus these make his immune system unable to fight against the foreign substances entering the body.
NK Cells are the innate immune system.
Causes resulting to a weak immune system?
The diseases affect the immune system directly, besides, these following factors also have a negative effect on the immune system:
- Insufficient rest. If we don’t take enough rest and this situation has been lasting for a long time, we will be under the stress and it will cause the imbalance of hormones. This will weaken our immune system and increase the risks of getting ill or infected.
- Lack of exercise. Exercise is a good way to stimulate the immune system. It helps our body to produce positive chemicals that enhance our body and increase our immunity. On the other hand, if we lack of exercises, it will weaken our immune system.
- Unhealthy food consumption. Eating too much sugar, grilled food, preserved food and junk food will negatively affect the functions of the immune system. It makes our body lack of some certain minerals and vitamins that help strengthen the immune system.
- Chronic stress. when the body suffers stress chronically, stress hormone will weaken immune system and put the body at risk of infection
Studies showed that the performance of NK cells decrease as our age increases (1), which is concerned with the development of cancer.
The studies also showed that among the elderly people, there are other factors weakening the performance of NK cells as well.
Normally, there are around 2,000-5,000 million NK Cells in the human body. When the foreign cells or substances enter our body, NK cells will be notified immediately and create two types of chain reactions to fight against those foreign substances.
- The substance of NK Cells that deals with the foreign cells directly is called Cytotoxicity. This substance relies on direct detection (Cell-Cell contact).
- Cytokines are released into the bloodstream, which play a crucial role in NK cell activation. For example, the cytokines can activate the T cells in immune system to eliminate the foreign substances and prevent the occurrence of cancer and increase the immune system.
We can check the quantity and quality of NK cells with a sample of blood from our body. To check the number of NK cells, we call it NK Count, while to check the quality of NK cells, we call it NK Activity.
How to detect the number and activeness of NK Cells?
Currently, one of the most accurate and fastest methods for counting NK cells is using Flow Cytometry or laser cell analysis.
Novavida NK Cells Activity Report Example:
NK Cells Activity Interpretation can be divided into 3 levels:
- Low Level indicates that the effectiveness of the immune cells is low responsive to the tumor or infected cells, which implies the patient’s immune system is weak and in the risk of health-related problems.
- Normal Level indicates that the immune cells are in the range of health status, which means the NK Cells work normally to kill the cancer cells and maintain the health.
- High Level indicates that the effectiveness of immune cells is high with active response to cancer cells or infected cells. However, a high-level NK activity can also imply a potential risk of developing diseases or an age-related disease such as Alzheimer’s disease.
NK Cells can be increased by the following methods:
For increasing NK cells amount, we can start with ourselves:
- Eat the nutritious foods, such as green vegetables, meat and soy milk;
- Quit smoking and drinking alcohol;
- Regular exercise;
- Sufficient rest and relieve stress.
The effect of the methods mentioned above may depend on each individual’s own conditions. In addition, with the technology of cell culture, there is another method to culture the NK cells in the laboratory, ensuring the quantity and quality of NK cells. Normally it takes about 2 – 3 weeks. When the NK Cells are ready, they will be injected back to the body.
The process of immunotherapy with NK Cells
- The patient receives a thorough health check up by a professional and experienced doctor for the preparation of treatment plan;
- A sample of blood from the patient will be drawn to check the amount of NK cells (NK Count) and the performance of NK cells (NK Activity) ;
- NK Cells culture in a sterile laboratory (Clean Room Class 100) to increase the NK Count and NK Activity;
- The NK cells will be injected back to the body via the bloodstream with follow-up evaluation.