Jun 22, 2018

Will you get sick next flu season? It may depend on how many natural killer cells you have

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Let’s imagine it’s mid flu season, and a stranger at the grocery store sneezes on you.

Wouldn’t it be great to know if you’re destined for weeks of sweats and chills; or if, by the grace of your immune system, you might just make it out unscathed?

Purvesh Khatri, PhD, associate professor of medicine at Stanford, has discovered a biomarker in the blood may be able to do just that. It’s a gene that codes for a protein that lives on the surface of a type of immune cell known as a “natural killer” cell. The findings of the study, published in Genome Medicine, have been in the works for about four years, and it’s the first time (to Khatri’s knowledge) that a biomarker for flu susceptibility has been identified.

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