Activated NK Cell Therapy

Enhancing innate immunity
Patented technology for Activated NK Cell Therapy

Natural killer cells (NK cells), a type of lymphocyte that is a part of the innate immune system, has the ability to recognize and attack foreign substances, including cancer cells, without receiving specific instructions from other cells. This is why they are called a natural killer.

NK cells constantly monitor and patrol the body for cancer cells and foreign substances, and its activity tends to decrease after peaking at around age 20. In addition to aging, factors that decrease NK cell activity include stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, and medications. It has also been shown that cancer cells themselves can interfere with NK cell activity. Cancer cells release cytokines (substances involved in transmitting information) in order to escape attacks from NK cells and to try to suppress their actions.

When the activity of NK cells is held back and their function is decreased, the number of cancer cells that cannot be suppressed and kept in check increases.

A technology has been developed in which NK cells are cultured in large quantities outside of the body, activated and then returned to the body. This is our activated NK cell therapy.

This treatment enhances the innate immune system and fights cancer with the power of activated NK cells.

Typically, NK cells recognize cancer cells by using the MHC class I receptors located on the surface of cells in order to determine whether the cell being targeted is normal or not.

While normal cells express MHC class I receptors, cells that do not contain MHC class I receptors are judged to be foreign and NK cells will immediately start attacking.
Many cancer cells do not express these receptors and will be attacked, however, as some cancer cells do express MHC class I molecules, unfortunately NK cells alone cannot attack all cancer cells. When possible, a combined approach of NK cells with the multivalent DC vaccine is recommended as this is more likely to prevent tumor escape.

Treatment flow

1. Medical Consultation

Our physicians will consult with patients and in order to understand the patient’s full information impacting treatment. All factors including diagnostic imaging tests, bloodwork, medical history, current physical problems, work, lifestyle, and family will be taken into consideration while recommending the best treatment and joint plan for each individual.

2. Initial testing

For the activated NK cell therapy, initial testing including tumor markers and infectious disease testing will be performed. Other testing including genetic testing, immune response testing (immunogram), CTC (circulating tumor cell) and cell free DNA testing can also be done upon request.

3. Blood draw and administration

A small amount of venous blood (25ml) is collected to create the activated NK cell therapy. The treatment is created in 14 days, and then can be administered. This blood drawing and administering of therapy is repeated a total of six times every 2 weeks for one round (kur) of therapy.

* When used in combination with the multivalent dendritic cell vaccine, one round (kur) of therapy is considered to be five doses.
* Further blood collection is not required when used in combination with the multivalent dendritic cell vaccine.
* Blood collection is done by normal venipuncture.
* Administration is through intravenous drip.

4. Evaluation of treatment

At our clinic, we evaluate the patient’s progress and efficacy of treatment at baseline prior to treatment, immediately after the end of the first round, and then again 3 months after the first round of treatment. Prior to and at the end of the treatment course, we evaluate the patient’s QOL, immune response test (immunogram), tumor markers, and imaging studies. 3 months after completion, the patient’s QOL is reevaluated, the immunogram, tumor markers, and imaging studies are monitored in consultation with the patient to determine a future plan.

Side Effects

As the activated NK cell therapy is created using the patient’s own immune cells, there are little to no side effects. Rarely, a strong immune response may cause a fever of 37-38˚C within hours of administration, however such reactions usually subside within 24 hours.

Targeted medical conditions and symptoms

  • Cancer (any type of cancer, any stage of cancer)
  • Cancer prevention, recurrence or metastasis prevention
  • Anti-aging or well-aging