It’s that time of year when we look to what the coming year and future holds and it’s hard to imagine that targeting natural killer (NK) cells won’t have an important role to play in cancer immunotherapy.

When it comes to NK cells, there’s definitely a lot of new product development activity that we look forward to hearing about in 2021, and the commercial interest is palpable, as evidenced by Sanofi’s November 2020 offer of €308M to acquire Kiadis for their NK cell technology platform.

Like old friends, there are many thought leaders BSB enjoys catching up with every few years, and one of them is Dr Todd Fehniger. Dr Fehniger is a Professor of Medicine at Washington University in St Louis and a leading translational researcher in the NK field.

Long time readers may recall our first interview with him back in 2016 where he discussed a paper from his lab published in Science Translational Medicine on “Cytokine-induced memory-like natural killer cells exhibit enhanced responses against myeloid leukemia.”

At ASH20, Dr Fehniger kindly shared with BSB his views on some of the NK cell therapy data presented at the meeting, as well as commentary on where the NK field is at, where it is going and the questions that remain unanswered.

This post is the first of a two part interview with Dr Fehniger providing fresh insights and analysis into the future of NK cell therapy. There was a lot of enthusiasm of late around various developments in this niche, including the Gamida Cell and other key clinical data, but how did an independent expert react to the findings? Were they as enthusiastic as investors or not?

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