Human Blood Specimen Collection to Evaluate Immune Cell Function

Official Title

Human Blood Specimen Collection to Evaluate Immune Cell Function


Natural killer (NK) cells are leukocytes of the innate immune system and play a central role in the control of cancer metastases. NK cells and other innate immune cells often do not function well in patients with cancer and are also profoundly suppressed after cancer surgery. Dr. Auer's Lab and others have shown that NK cells are critically important in the clearance of tumour metastases and that their impairment can be recovered with immune therapy augmenting the innate immune system. Several studies suggest that cancer patients have depressed NK cell cytotoxicity as compared to healthy controls but that following resection of the cancer, NK cell cytotoxicity returns to normal levels. In this observational study, the investigators will measure NK cell cytotoxicity by the gold standard method (51Cr, a chromium51 release assay) and by a new interferon-ɣ (IFN-ɣ) based assay (NK-Vue™) in healthy humans and colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery patients seen a The Ottawa Hospital. The results of this study will determine if the NK-Vue™ is able to discriminate between healthy human volunteers and newly diagnosed cancer patients and is sufficiently sensitive to detect transient NK cell suppression immediately following surgery.

Trial Description

Primary Outcome:

  • Natural Killer Cell Activity (NKA) at baseline compared to POD1 in CRC surgery patients
Secondary Outcome:
  • Natural Killer Cell Activity (NKA) in healthy donors (HD) as compared to colorectal cancer (CRC) patients (at baseline)
Rationale: The purpose of this program is to obtain consent for and to outline the process for collection of fresh blood sample from healthy humans and colorectal cancer patients before and after surgical resection. Procurement of fresh human blood is required for the following:
  • To compare NK cell function, measured by two different assays, in healthy humans and newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients at the Ottawa Hospital.
  • To compare NK cell function, measure by two different assays in colorectal surgery patients preoperatively and at various time points postoperatively.

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Canadian Cancer Society

These resources are provided in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society