About Aric M. Frantz DVM, PhD

Dr. Frantz is the site scientific lead for immunotoxicology at the Covance Madison location. He serves as the contributing scientist or principal investigator as an immunotoxicologist and interprets and reports immunotoxicology data. Dr. Frantz has overall responsibility for the technical conduct of toxicology studies, including interpretation, analysis, documentation and reporting of results. He has more than 15 years of experience in academic research and received the 2013 Dr. Alvin Webber DVM/PhD Scholarship Award and 2011 Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship at the University of Minnesota. Before joining Covance and while at the Comparative Pathology Core Facility at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Frantz developed novel immunochemistry techniques, stains and preparations, and an electronic system for tracking clients, cases and project status. He earned his PhD in comparative and molecular biosciences as well as his DVM from the University of Minnesota.

Understanding the Power of Natural Killer Cells and New Nonradioactive Assay Approaches

Natural killer (NK) cells first earned their title as “killers” nearly 40 years ago when researchers observed the rapid immune response of these lymphocytes as they destroyed host cells infected with a virus or tumor cells. It seemed that NK cells could attach spontaneously without prior activation. Over time, researchers have learned more about the molecular mechanisms that regulate their activation and function.

Today, the NK cell assay is used to support specialty immunotoxicology studies for safety assessment. At Covance, we work with clients that often ask us about performing a NK cell functional analysis and the role of standard immunophenotyping to enumerate cells. This article addresses these questions by providing a brief background on the innate immunity of NK cell biology and comparing assay methods. Continue reading