A Korean research team has developed a technology to strengthen the anticancer function of natural killer (NK) cells, which are known to attack cancer cells.
The Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KCCI) announced on May 1 that Dr. Lee Chang-hoon's team has developed a technology that enhances the cancer cell recognition ability of NK cells and transferred it to biopharmaceutical company Lepigen MD.
NK cell death is largely divided into two stages: cancer cell recognition and attack. One of the important target proteins in the cancer cell recognition process is the MIC protein.
The research team has developed a substance that regulates the expression of MIC proteins by increasing the MIC protein expression to enhance NK cells’ cancer cell recognition ability. In addition, the team discovered a substance that can effectively induce cancer cell death by enhancing NK cells’ cancer cell recognition ability and developed a NK cell treatment with enhanced anticancer function.
The result of in vitro and animal tests on blood cancer, liver cancer, and lung cancer cells showed that the newly developed treatmenthas up to twice higher cancer cell killing effect than the existing NK cells.
This study was done as a part of the KCCI’s in-house project of stem cell-derived customized NK cell treatment development.