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Natural Killer (NK) Cells

NK cells hold significant promise for the development of novel immunotherapies, and these therapies could show greater efficacy than traditional approaches. When used as an advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP), NK cells can be redirected to kill a specific tumor cell or virus-infected cell population. The balance of activating and inhibitory NK cell receptor signaling can also be manipulated with the goal of enhancing cell activation. These engineered NK cells are then expanded ex vivo for use as personalized adoptive cell therapies.

View all our products and services for Cell and Gene Therapy.

If you are doing developmental work, view research grade products on our R&D Systems website for NK Cell Isolation, Culture, and Identification.

graphic of cell processing workflow
graphic of cell isolation and cell culture

Isolation and Cell Culture for NK Cells

Get away from using irradiated feeder cells for your NK expansions. Adopt a simplified and cleaner process. Our ProDots Proteins, ExCellerate Media, and Cloudz Cell Activation Kits are optimized for use together. We offer directly comparable RUO and GMP grades for seamless transition from research to manufacturing.

Cell Selection

Cytokines and Growth Factors

  • GMP ProDots Proteins are formulated as dissolvable spheres enclosed inside sterile, weldable bags for closed processing cytokine addition.
  • Animal-Free GMP Proteins are produced in dedicated controlled-access laboratories to prevent potential contamination by animal components or byproducts.

Small Molecules

  • GMP small molecules promote somatic cell reprogramming to iPSC prior to NK cell differentiation.


Cell Culture Media

Cell Expansion Kits

graph of NK cell expansion

NK cells were expanded from human PBMCs by treatment with the Cloudz NK Cell Kit along with ExCellerate NK Cell Media and human IL-2, IL-12, IL-18, and IL-21 proteins. Cells were evaluated at Days 0, 7, 9, and 14 for fold expansion.

This video shows how GMP ProDots Proteins simplify cell and gene therapy manufacturing.

This symposium discusses reagents and organoids for studying the innate immune response in COVID-19 including methods for profiling NK cells and the cytokine storm.

graphic of genome engineering

Genome Engineering

Complex genetic modification confers precise functional activity but can be difficult to perform in NK cells. Why not let our in-house experts support your program? We offer solutions for both non-viral and virus-based gene editing as well as Process Development Services. We specialize in complex gene knock-outs/knock-ins, conditional knock-outs, and site-specific genome engineering.

Genome Engineering with Any Platform

Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization

  • ISO7 cleanrooms for manufacturing GMP-grade engineered cells or processing Phase I/II trial samples
  • Advance to clinical testing in 4 months

Vector Characterization with Automated Instrumentation


graph of NK cell expansion

Mechanism of action for the TcBuster Gene Transfer System.

graph of NK cell expansion

New clean room facilities with 620 square ft, 2 clean rooms, 2 development labs, and 1 in-house quality control lab.

graphic of cell characterization

NK Cell Characterization

Characterize your cells at every manufacturing stage to ensure a robust process. Confirm that they exhibit the correct phenotype and their purity meets your requirements. Our extensive selection of premium reagents and instruments allows you to quickly analyze cell surfaces and secretory profiles and to screen for residual contaminants.

Cell Phenotype

Cell Function and Potency

  • Luminex® assays multiplex key analytes to confirm phenotype
  • ELISA kits quantify production of single cytokines
  • Simple Plex automates multi-analyte NK cell secretion profile analysis in 90 minutes, including IFN-g, TNF-a, and dozens more.
  • FlowX Human NK Cell Killing Flow Cytometry Kit Coming Soon!

Contaminant Screening

Tissue Biopsy and NK Cell Localization

  • Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP)-compliant RNAscope ISH analysis for clinical and preclinical studies


flow cytometry graphs of NK cell subsets

Rigorously qualified flow cytometry antibodies distinguish NK cell subsets according to multiple NCR, NKG2, Nectin, and KIR receptor family members. Figures show clear differences in NK receptor expression within the NK cell population.

single-cell analysis graph of NK cell culture

Single-Cell Western analysis of NK cell culture showing heterogeneity of CD3 and CD56 expression. Each dot corresponds to one cell. Dots in this figure represent single cells, clustered in distinct populations based on these two surface markers. Read More

Find Antibodies for NK Cell Identification

Explore our interactive cell marker tool to view the cell surface and intracellular markers most used to identify NK cells. All markers are linked to R&D SystemsTM antibodies to make finding your antibody easy.

Visit R&D Systems to Explore Our Interactive Cell Markers Tool

Custom Services

Our custom services team is committed to developing optimized solutions to streamline your NK cell manufacturing processes. We will work with you to develop and deliver reagents, cell culture media, and immunoassays that meet your requirements.

Our Cloudz Cell Activation technology can be customized with a breadth of ligands to drive your specific NK cell expansion process.

Our GMP ProDots Proteins can be custom packaged for your preferred cytokine mass in each sterile bag.

Our Custom Antibody Services will optimize your cell selection and cell phenotyping with GMP antibodies, recombinant antibody engineering, and monoclonal panel development.

For any additional inquiries regarding specialized NK cell services, speak with an expert at Custom Services for Cell & Gene Therapies.

Background Information

Luminex is a registered trademark of Luminex Corporation.