23andMe, Innate Pharma Tap Antibodies to Target NK Cells for Cancer

Immuno-oncology collage_Taylor Tieden

Pictured: a collage of white blood cells and cancer cells/Taylor Tieden for BioSpace

As their name suggests, natural killer (NK) cells intrinsically recognize and kill stressed cells, such as cancer cells. NK cells are not a new approach to treating cancer, but a novel class of antibodies is giving them a leg up in the fight, and drugmakers, including 23andMe and Innate Pharma, are leveraging this approach to develop cell therapies for a range of cancers.

NK cells have a number of receptors that recognize specific stress ligands present on cancer cells, Lewis Lanier, a professor in microbiology and immunology at the University of California, San Francisco, told BioSpace. Antibody-based therapies promote NK cells’ anti-tumor activity by manipulating the receptor-ligand interactions and help NK cells to infiltrate the tumor site.

While their approaches are different, both 23andMe and Innate are developing such therapies…
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