A new study addresses the barriers of tissue transplants and cell therapyHope for cell based treatments/ therapies

According to this research performed on mice, it was shown that the tissue could be used for fostering development of the blood cells needed by the body for mounting healthy immune responses as well as preventing harmful autoimmune reactions. The thymus cells developed by the scientists caused functioning immune cells to proliferate and mature when transplanted. The researchers said that this kind of achievement marked a major step towards finding new treatments that are based on organ and stem- cell transplantation and also therapies that could be used for treating type-1 diabetes as well as other autoimmune diseases together with immune deficiency diseases.

In the report submitted by the researchers, Cell Stem Cell refers to a functioning tissue which nurtures growth and development of white blood cells called the T cells. These T cells make the central immune population of cells which responds to particular disease causing pathogens. In addition, the also ensure that the immune system doesn’t attach the tissues of the body. To the lay person, there is no doubt that the thymus is quite an obscure. This small gland is found on the chest just below the breastbone. However, it is not expandable in any way as a person whose thymus function is defective tends to succumb to infections very early in life.

Considering how invasive cell therapy is and is still completely experimental up to now, initial treatments that use thymus- tissue derived from the lab is highly likely to be studied on persons with very fatal diseases that have no effective treatment. For example, says Anderson, one of the early treatments might be for DeGeorge syndrome, a genetic disease where some babies are born when they don’t have the thymus gland which ultimately leads to infancy death.

Tissue transplantation still facing great limitations

However, another area that has a high potential of having a much greater impact is that of tissue transplantation which has been the main goal for stem cell based therapies. Now, stem- cell based therapies are limited greatly by the nature of immune system to easily reject the transplanted stem cells. For transplantation purposes, such stem cells tend to be coaxed down to just two simultaneous developmental pathways, to form both a replacement organ and a thymus tissue. Transplantation of both of them can overcome the great barrier of rejection without having to use the harmful immune suppression.

Anderson continued to say that the thymus creates conducive environment for maturation of T cells. This is also the place where they get instructions on differences between non- self and self. The thymus prepares some T cells to attack any foreign invaders which include transplants and T cells that can attack your own body tissues are consequently eliminated by the thymus.