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Blood. 2008 Aug 1;112(3):461-9. doi: 10.1182/blood-2007-09-077438.

Human natural killer cells.

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  • 1The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, The James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute, 300 West 10th St, Rm 517, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Natural killer (NK) cells were discovered more than 30 years ago. NK cells are large granular lymphocytes that belong to the innate immune system because unlike T or B lymphocytes of the adaptive or antigen-specific immune system, NK cells do not rearrange T-cell receptor or immunoglobulin genes from their germline configuration. During the past 2 decades there has been a substantial gain in our understanding of what and how NK-cells "see," lending important insights into their functions and purpose in normal immune surveillance. The most recent discoveries in NK-cell receptor biology have fueled translational research that has led to remarkable results in treating human malignancy.

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