natural killer cell

noun

Definition of natural killer cell

: a large granular lymphocyte capable especially of destroying tumor cells or virally-infected cells without prior exposure to the target cell and without having it presented with or marked by a histocompatibility antigen

called also NK cell

Examples of natural killer cell in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That's because touching increases the natural killer cells that help us fight off illnesses, said Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine. Lz Granderson, ajc, "Many of us haven't touched another human for weeks. What's the price of no contact?," 16 Apr. 2020 Specifically, exercise helps to recruit highly specialized immune cells—such as natural killer cells and T cells—find pathogens (like viruses) and wipe them out. Mallory Creveling, Health.com, "Does Exercise Boost Immunity? What to Know About Working Out Right Now, According to Experts," 16 Apr. 2020 March 26, 2020 That’s because touching increases the natural killer cells that help us fight off illnesses, said Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. Los Angeles Times, "Many of us haven’t touched another human for weeks. What’s the price of no contact?," 15 Apr. 2020 The innate immune system, composed of white blood cells such as macrophages, natural killer cells and neutrophils, was supposed to have no such memory. Jop De Vrieze, Science | AAAS, "Can a century-old TB vaccine steel the immune system against the new coronavirus?," 23 Mar. 2020 An important immunotherapeutic approach uses natural killer cells. Robert J. Hariri, WSJ, "Include ‘Natural Killer’ Cells in the Covid-19 Arsenal," 13 Mar. 2020 From Killers to Builders If macrophages are the greatest multitaskers in the immune system, then natural killer cells are the most poorly named. Quanta Magazine, "Immune Cell Assassins Reveal Their Nurturing Side," 11 Feb. 2020 The researchers also tweaked the natural killer cells in two other ways. Linda Carroll, NBC News, "Immune therapy tweak offers new hope to blood cancer patients," 5 Feb. 2020 Another big advantage was that the natural killer cells from one patient could be given to another without any tissue matching. Linda Carroll, NBC News, "Immune therapy tweak offers new hope to blood cancer patients," 5 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'natural killer cell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of natural killer cell

1975, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about natural killer cell

Time Traveler for natural killer cell

Time Traveler

The first known use of natural killer cell was in 1975

See more words from the same year

Statistics for natural killer cell

Cite this Entry

“Natural killer cell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/natural%20killer%20cell. Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for natural killer cell

natural killer cell

noun

Medical Definition of natural killer cell

: a large granular lymphocyte capable especially of destroying tumor cells or virally infected cells without prior exposure to the target cell and without having it presented with or marked by a histocompatibility antigen

called also NK cell

More from Merriam-Webster on natural killer cell

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about natural killer cell

Comments on natural killer cell

What made you want to look up natural killer cell? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!