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Natural Born Killers: How The Body's Frontline Immune Cells Decide Which Cells To Destroy

The mechanism used by 'Natural Killer' immune cells in the human body to distinguish between diseased cells, which they are meant to destroy, and normal cells, which they are meant to leave alone, is revealed in new detail in research published July 28 in PLoS Biology.

Understanding how this aspect of the body's natural defences works could help medical researchers develop new ways of boosting these defences to treat disease.

Natural Killer (NK) cells - a type of white blood cell - are a major component of the human body's innate immune system. Over 1,000 NK cells are found in every drop of blood. They provide a fast frontline defence against tumours, viruses and bacterial infections, by latching onto and killing cells in the human body that are cancerous or are infected with a virus or a bacterial pathogen.
 
 

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