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/Advisor

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