Science is beautiful because it can help us describe the different processes and mechanisms that are inside our bodies. More than a decade ago, some researchers were able to infuse T Memory Stem Cells in some patients.
In a paper that was recently published in Science Translational Medicine, the group of researchers discovered not only the rise of more T lymphocytes, but also that the population of stem cells is still there.
According to Immunology and Transplantation Expert, Luca Gattinoni, some researchers were able to monitor the clonal dynamics of the T Memory Stem cells in humans for an extended period of time (more than 12 years to be specific).
The study was able to closely monitor and the researchers were able to conclude that transplanted T Memory stem cells are able to live on in the person’s body for quite a long time.
For those of you who do not know, T Memory stem cells contain antigen-specific memory that is similar to the ones that are found in effector and central memory T Cells. However, they also share the same characteristics to that of cells that haven’t been exposed to foreign antigens known as Naïve T Cells.
Luca Biasco, who spearheaded the study, said that these special stem cells are kind of in between memory and naïve cells in that they have the power of both cell differentiation and self-renewal.
This amazing potential of T Memory Stem Cells was actually discovered by Gattinoni and his team a couple of years ago. You could say that their findings have piqued the interest of other researchers since these cells could potentially be used for therapeutic purposes.
The advantage of these cells, said Gattinoni, is that they have the capacity to live for a very long time after infusion and their potential to cell divide and act as regenerative agents when coming across antigens could be a gateway for creating some potent medicine.
Gattinoni also noted that these cells would be much more effective in fighting cancer cells and they also prevent more cancer cells from developing. He added that these cells are more effective than effector and central memory cells in mice.
Even though this is all possible in human subjects, actual human trials were not that fruitful. To test this, blood samples were taken from patients at different times. The team would use unique integration sites of the retroviral vector that are utilized to create these cells.
By doing this, the researchers are able to follow individual T Cells over long periods of time in the people that were transfused with it.
In Biasco’s findings, the transplanted Memory T-Cells were able to self-divide, producing more copies of itself. However, they were not limited to doing just that since some of the cells turned into effector and central Memory T cells as well.
He also added that through the years, the cell levels remained fairly stable as they do have the potential for surviving for a very long time.