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Natural Born Killers: NK Cells in Cancer Therapy

Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2131;
Received: 6 July 2020 / Revised: 21 July 2020 / Accepted: 27 July 2020 / Published: 31 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of NK and T Cells in Cancer)
Cellular therapy has emerged as an attractive option for the treatment of cancer, and adoptive transfer of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) expressing T cells has gained FDA approval in hematologic malignancy. However, limited efficacy was observed using CAR-T therapy in solid tumors. Natural killer (NK) cells are crucial for tumor surveillance and exhibit potent killing capacity of aberrant cells in an antigen-independent manner. Adoptive transfer of unmodified allogeneic or autologous NK cells has shown limited clinical benefit due to factors including low cell number, low cytotoxicity and failure to migrate to tumor sites. To address these problems, immortalized and autologous NK cells have been genetically engineered to express high affinity receptors (CD16), CARs directed against surface proteins (PD-L1, CD19, Her2, etc.) and endogenous cytokines (IL-2 and IL-15) that are crucial for NK cell survival and cytotoxicity, with positive outcomes reported by several groups both preclinically and clinically. With a multitude of NK cell-based therapies currently in clinic trials, it is likely they will play a crucial role in next-generation cell therapy-based treatment. In this review, we will highlight the recent advances and limitations of allogeneic, autologous and genetically enhanced NK cells used in adoptive cell therapy. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural killer cells; NK cells; adoptive cell transfer; NK-92; CAR-NK; haNK; t-haNK natural killer cells; NK cells; adoptive cell transfer; NK-92; CAR-NK; haNK; t-haNK
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MDPI and ACS Style

Franks, S.E.; Wolfson, B.; Hodge, J.W. Natural Born Killers: NK Cells in Cancer Therapy. Cancers 2020, 12, 2131.

AMA Style

Franks SE, Wolfson B, Hodge JW. Natural Born Killers: NK Cells in Cancer Therapy. Cancers. 2020; 12(8):2131.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Franks, S. E., Benjamin Wolfson, and James W. Hodge 2020. "Natural Born Killers: NK Cells in Cancer Therapy" Cancers 12, no. 8: 2131.

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