Natural Killer cells
Natural Killer (NK) cells?
NK cells are specialized white blood cells (a special type of lymphocytes) in our IMMUNE SYSTEM. They are CRUCIAL to our inborn and acquired immunity against infection, particularly viral infection.
NK cells perform tumor surveillance, they detect and destroy early and budding malignant cells and thus have a particularly important function in CANCER defense.
NK cells are also found in the UTERUS in very high numbers and perform reproductive functions. NK cells play a hugely important role in allowing a pregnancy to be established.
Based on their expression of special RECEPTORS (CD 56 and CD16), two main subsets can be distinguished: one subset that conducts the cytotoxic (killer) functions and a second one that possesses immunoregulatory (immune balancing) properties.
How can I know the function of my NK cells?
NK cell function is a combination of NK cell numbers and ratios, and their activity/ability in performing their duties.
The combination of both NK cell tests determines how good your immune function is.
NK cell COUNT:
the numbers of your NK cells in your blood may hold answers about your immunity.
NK cell RATIOS:
the balance between NK killer cells and NK immune balancing cells has important implications for infertility (ask for reference).
NK Cell ACTIVITY:
specialized laboratory test to reveal and measure the ability of NK cells to clear
non-self-cells (foreign) and altered self-cells that have lost their normalcy status
(virus infected or early cancer).
Poor NK cell activity reflects impaired immune function.
There are numerous causes of poor NK cell activity such as cancer heredity, cancer disease, immunosuppression due to chemotherapy or other cancer treatments as well as after major surgery. Suboptimal nutrition with low intake of fruits and vegetables and high consumption of processed foods, as well as a lifestyle that includes alcohol, smoking, sleep deprivation, little or no exercise, high stress and being overweight will heavily impact on your NK cell activity and counts.
On the other side, normal to high NK cell activity and counts reflect an optimally functioning immune system. An ongoing infection or the presence of an active autoimmune disease such as SLE or rheumatoid arthritis may present with abnormally high NK activity levels.
NK cell ratios as in peripheral blood NK cell subsets are used in infertility diagnosis especially in recurrent miscarriage.
Who SHOULD get tested?
Healthy proactive people.
Persons with frequent viral infections.
Persons with chronic fatigue syndrome.
If you suspect that your lifestyle and environment may have impacted of your immunity.
Overweight persons and persons with little or no exercise.
Smokers and persons consuming alcohol.
Members of families with cancer heredity.
Couples with infertility.
Painlessly collected minute amounts of blood are needed for these tests.
What can I do if my tests are not normal?
Abnormal results are considered as a lifestyle alarm. In cases where your lifestyle is suspected to be the cause of NK cell abnormalities it is IMPERATIVE that you act upon the results and introduce changes. Smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise and sleep, suboptimal nutrition, and drinking alcohol should be dealt with.
Families with cancer heredity might proceed with CANCER CENETIC TESTING to evaluate future cancer risk. Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) test is the natural next step to determine if a CANCER is IMMINENT at this point of your life.
NK cell expansion and infusion may aid in increasing NK cell numbers and balancing NK cell subsets to more optimal numbers and ratios, but a healthy lifestyle is imperative. If you do not improve your lifestyle choices, no treatments will ever rid you of the increased health risks your lifestyle choices compel. We believe that miracle treatment seeking is not the answer to a distorted lifestyle. Similarly, to the fact that short sleep durations can only be addressed by more sleep, your NK cells will increase and their function will improve when reverting to long-lasting lifestyle improvements in all areas of your life as we call “the Big 5”, sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and smoke and alcohol cessation. We can assist you with those interventions that can be finetuned by genetic testing. Still, the basics (the Big 5) can never be avoided! Your own NK cells can be harvested from your own peripheral blood (PB-NK cells) and expanded in a few weeks to large numbers that can be infused back into your circulation and/or frozen for future use.
You can also harvest NK cells from your newborn baby’s umbilical cord blood (UCB-NK cells) and expand and freeze for future use. Emerging modern technologies will allow for more treatments in the future! Cord blood NK cells could possess higher anticancer activity compared with ‘older’ cells from other sources. Older PB-NK cells may tackle the cancer cells less efficiently. Bear in mind that simple cultured own NK cells cannot treat an existing metastatic cancer, contrary to what many believe. What you read in the news is “genetically modified NK-cells” and not simple cultures. There are no vitamins, minerals, supplements, or immune-boosting cocktails. “The Big 5” is the only way to boost your immunity!
Consult with your INFERTILITY specialist on your results, if you have suffered recurrent miscarriages.
Aging Immune System
Immuno-senescence refers to a complex process involving the deterioration of innate and adaptive immune functions of an aging person at many levels. Aging increases everyone’s risk for cancer and NK killer cells are our first line of defense against cancer cells, so it is intuitive to try improving NK cell function.
The Big 5: Optimal nutrition, exercise, avoidance of smoking and alcohol should be first line measure against aging. Genetic testing can aid in tailoring a personalized nutrition and exercise regime to fight aging while NK cell tests can measure the effectiveness of such programmes.
Genetic Cancer testing can aid in calculating cancer risks while circulating cancer cell -CTC- tests can help to institute early measures to fight cancer.
NK cell expansion can be employed in increasing declining NK cell numbers and improving NK cell subset ratios as well as store frozen for future interventions. In the future, genetically engineered NK cells will be an effective cancer treatment.
C1: NK cells expanded.