Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been used for the treatment of malignant and nonmalignant disorders, including leukemias, lymphomas, renal cell carcinomas and melanomas. Limitations of allogeneic HSCT are numerous and include a dearth of suitable donors leading to graft versus host disease (GvHD), graft rejection, immune deficiency and relapse when used for cancer. Despite the challenges, the goal of allogeneic HSCT for cancer patients is to eliminate the tumor through enhancing the antitumor effects of the donor cells. Natural killer (NK) cells are innate effector cells capable of mediating MHC unrestricted killing of neoplastic and virally infected cells. The use of NK cells in HSCT using preclinical models has been found to increase antitumor effects without increasing GvHD. NK cells have also been found to enhance reconstitution of the donor hematopoietic stem cells. This chapter will highlight current research on NK cells used in HSCT including the role that alloreactive NK cells play in HSCT, NK reconstitution following HSCT, NK involvement in graft versus leukemia (GvL) and GvHD, and NK adoptive immunotherapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)