Studies of natural killer (NK) cells in some cancer patients by the use of flow cytometry and monoclonal antibodies

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


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Medical Laboratory Science

First Advisor's Name

Dr. Abelardo Retureta

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Gerald Murison

Third Advisor's Name

Beverly Warden


Killer cells, Cancer, Patients

Date of Defense



Natural killer (NK) cells are a small subset of CD3-negative non-T, non-B lymphocytes that display spontaneous cytotoxic activity against a variety of normal, virus-infected, or tumor target cells without previous sensitization and with no requirement for expression of polymorphic MHC determinants on target cells. By using multicolor EPICS Elite Flow Cytometer (Coulter Corporation) and a panel of fluorochrome-conjugated Coulter Clone monoclonal antibodies (CD16-FITC, CD56-RD1, CD3-ECD and CD8-APC) , the present studies were carried out to monitor and measure the peripheral blood NK cells in seven cancer patients during chemotherapy and stem cell harvests. Flow cytometric (FCM) analysis revealed that NK cells were increased during ch'emotherapy, however as expected in many cancer or AIDS patients the immunophenotypic results did correlate poorly with the functional data obtained by 4-hour chromium-51 release cytotoxicity assay. In addition, the present studies provide direct evidence that FCM analysis can be used as a useful tool for rapid identification and purification of NK cells from cancer patients for further clinical study/application.



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