Inhibition of NK Cells during Leukemia

Inhibition of NK Cells during Leukemia

Leukemia cells express recognition structures for NK cells and are often killed at high levels by NK cells in vitro. It is unclear, why NK cells are not potent enough to fight against most types of leukemia in vivo. We postulate that NK cell effector functions are deregulated in patients suffering from leukemia, such as from acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
The goal of the project is to define factors and cell types, which downmodulate NK cell effector functions including target cell killing, cell proliferation and IFN-gamma production. We are currently establishing NK cell dependent tumor mouse models to investigate NK cell regulation. In addition, we are studying effector functions from NK cells isolated from AML patients. We envisage that the identification and inhibition of brakes of the immune response against cancer will help to design novel strategies to fight against malignant disease.

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