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† The Innate Immune Systemís Natural Killer Cells

 

Narrator:        This is Science Today. Every day, our body is bombarded with infectious agents that are quickly and efficiently destroyed and we can thank our immune system for that. Specifically, the aptly named natural killer, or NK, cells that make up what's called the innate immune system, and the killer T and B cells that are part of the adaptive immune system.

Lanier:            The innate immune response is kind of like the Marine Corps: they get on the beach and hold it while the adaptive cells then divide, multiply, come in and do the clean-up.

Narrator:        Dr. Lewis Lanier, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, has published research suggesting that the NK cells of the innate immune system also have a good memory - meaning they can more efficiently fight off previous infections when a new outbreak occurs. Lanier says this finding may have implications for future vaccine development for viruses that cause chronic infection, including herpes, Hepatitis C and HIV. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.