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Stem Cell Technology Could Help Harness Patients' Own Immune Cells to Fight Disease

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Waverunner, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    We don't really know what causes CFS but this finding is very promising. The immune system has its limits and the longer an infection takes, the less likely it is, that the immune system will overcome it. These scientists created redifferentiated T-cells with stem cell technology. The cells were perfectly young, had long telomeres and were able to recognize HIV-infected cells and cancer cells. So even if a patients immune system has been worn out, this might be the way to restore it.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130103131112.htm

    Jan. 3, 2013 — The human body contains immune cells programmed to fight cancer and viral infections, but they often have short lifespans and are not numerous enough to overcome attacks by particularly aggressive malignancies or invasions. Now researchers reporting in two separate papers in the January 4th issue of the Cell Press journalCell Stem Cell used stem cell technology to successfully regenerate patients' immune cells, creating large numbers that were long-lived and could recognize their specified targets: HIV-infected cells in one case and cancer cells in the other.

    The findings could help in the development of strategies to rejuvenate patients' exhausted immune responses.
    The techniques the groups employed involved using known factors to revert mature immune T cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which can differentiate into virtually any of the body's different cell types. The researchers then expanded these iPSCs and later coaxed them to redifferentiate back into T cells. Importantly, the newly made T cells were "rejuvenated" with increased growth potential and lifespan, while retaining their original ability to target cancer and HIV-infected cells. These findings suggest that manipulating T cells using iPSC techniques could be useful for future development of more effective immune therapies.
    In one study, investigators used T cells from an HIV-infected patient. The redifferentiated cells they generated had an unlimited lifespan and contained long telomeres, or caps, on the ends of their chromosomes, which protect cells from aging. This is significant because normal aging of T cells limits their expansion, making them inefficient as therapies. "The system we established provides 'young and active' T cells for adoptive immunotherapy against viral infection or cancers," says senior author Dr. Hiromitsu Nakauchi, of the University of Tokyo.
    The other research team focused on T cells from a patient with malignant melanoma. The redifferentiated cells they created recognized the protein MART-1, which is commonly expressed on melanoma tumors. "The next step we are going to do is examine whether these regenerated T cells can selectively kill tumor cells but not other healthy tissues. If such cells are developed, these cells might be directly applied to patients," says senior author Dr. Hiroshi Kawamoto, of the RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology. "This could be realized in the not-so-distant future."
     
  2. Patrick*

    Patrick* Formerly PWCalvin

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    California
    I truly believe that our best shot of solving ME comes not from ME-dedicated research (which is wonderful and vital of course) but from general immune system research like this. I take some comfort in the fact that there are researchers all over the world (like this team in Tokyo ^) working on solving the mysteries of the immune system.
     
    SickOfSickness and Waverunner like this.
  3. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    I agree, Patrick. ME-dedicated research doesn't even exist in most parts. Every once in a while we have these studies, that look for a virus or a certain immune marker in CFS, but they never lead to anything. I'm quite sure, that if there was enough funding, things would look a lot better. Unfortunately we have economic problems all over the world and I bet that the chances for funding CFS are very, very low. Since the economic situation is not going to get better soon, I see no change in the near future. Therefore I also hope, that we can benefit from research all over the world, especially regarding: autoimmune disease, gastroenterology and overall diagnostics.
     

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