Cancer therapeutics: Reflections on natural killer cells

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


(Table Presented) Cancer remains a leading cause of death globally, including in developing countries. In spite of the introduction of several new drugs to the anti-cancer arsenal in recent years, including monoclonal antibodies and selective tyrosine kinase inhibitors blocking the action of cancer-promoting hormones, full remission remains exceptional in many common cancers including lung, pancreas, and stomach cancers. One aspect of cancer therapeutics that remains mostly neglected is developing drugs for promoting the capacity of the innate immune system, most notably the natural killer cells, to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Minimizing the inhibition of natural killer cells' cytotoxic activity by current cancer therapeutics also deserves further consideration in cancer research. Better understanding of the physiology of the immune cells, in particular of factors regulating the action and differentiation of natural killer cells and their migration into tumor tissues, seems worthy of more in-depth research toward developing new cancer drugs. In this context, the potential of selective cannabinoid receptor agonists and fatty acid amid hydrolase inhibitors as immune-enhancing drugs deserves extra attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-288
Number of pages4
JournalDrug Development Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Antidepressant drugs
  • Cancer
  • Cannabinoid agonists
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Fatty acid amid hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitors
  • Interleukins
  • Natural killer cells
  • Vitamin D


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