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The influence of invariant natural killer T cells in the function B cells in health and in patients with B cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

Yasmeen Ghnewa/Derek Doherty


Yasmeen was awarded an EMBARK scholarship by the Irish Research Council in 2011 to investigate the effects of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells on peripheral blood B cells in vitro.  iNKT cells are innate like lymphocytes which constitute on average 0.05% of all T cells, and have been shown to play central roles in immune function.  

The project involves expanding and sorting various iNKT cell subsets in culture, generating pure lines for the study.  These cells are then co-cultured with B cells and their effects on B cell maturation, antibody and cytokine production and antigen presentation to conventional T cells are being studied.  iNKT cells and B are obtained from healthy control subjects and patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a B cell cancer in order to identify the anti-cancer effects of iNKT cells with a view to developing novel immunotherapies.


The left picture shows a flow cytometry plot of iNKT cells, indicating that they have been grown to 99% purity, as evidenced by their expression of the T cell marker CD3 (horizontal axis) and the iNKT cell marker 6B11 (vertical axis).  The right picture shows Yasmeen.

Last updated 21 September 2016 Immunology (Email).