Natural Killer (NK) cells can recognize and lyse a large variety of tumor cells and have been of interest as a potential cancer treatment option. Our group has developed a particle-based NK cell expansion method that utilizes plasma membrane particles (PM-particles) derived from K562 cells genetically engineered to express membrane bound IL21 and 41BBL(K562-mbIL21-41BBL), two proteins that stimulate growth and activity of NK cells. This method selectively expands highly cytotoxic NK cells > 400-fold in 14 days of culture. Currently NK cells are expanded in vitro using Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) as a serum-supplement to promote cell growth. While effective, the use of animal products is not preferred in cell cultures grown for clinical purposes. This project tested Human Platelet Lysates (HPL) as a potential replacement for FBS in NK cell culture. NK cells were expanded using PM21-particle based expansion method with either FBS or HPL as supplements. Their growth characteristics, phenotype and functionality were assessed and compared. Results of this study determined that HPL is a viable option to replace FBS in NK cell culture for clinical applications, as there was no significant difference between the two serum supplements.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair

Copik, Alicja


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Medicine

Degree Program

Biomedical Sciences



Access Status

Campus Access

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Release Date