What role do natural killer cells play in MS?

Dr Fiona McKay

Westmead Institute for Medical Research, NSW

| Better treatments | Immunology | Project | 2018 | Investigator Led Research |
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Summary

Natural killer (NK) cells are responsible for killing harmful cells in the body. This includes the body’s own cells that are infected with viruses, and other immune cells that inappropriately attack our own body (autoimmune cells).

Previous work by Dr Fiona McKay and colleagues has found that in some people with MS, their NK cells are not working properly. In a laboratory model of MS, they have also that malfunction of NK cells are associated with increased MS relapses.

In this Project Grant Dr McKay and her team will determine if NK cells from people with MS are able to kill cells infected with viruses, and/or autoimmune cells, in the laboratory.
A number of drugs that enhance the function of NK cells have been approved to treat cancer. Dr McKay will investigate if these drugs can be repurposed to improve the function of NK cells in people with MS to kill cells infected with viruses, and/or autoimmune cells.

Updated: 11 January 2018

Updated: 05 January, 2018

Investigator

  • Dr Fiona McKay, Westmead Institute for Medical Research, NSW

Co-investigator

  • Professor David Booth, Westmead Institute for Medical Research, NSW
  • Associate Professor Golo Ahlenstiel, Westmead Institute for Medical Research, NSW
  • Professor Steve Vucic, Westmead Institute for Medical Research, NSW
  • Ms Nicole Fewings, Westmead Institute for Medical Research, NSW

Grant Awarded

  • Project Grant

Total Funding

  • $216,000

Duration

  • 3 years over 2018 - 2020

Funding Partner

  • Trish MS Research Foundation
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