UCLA researchers have developed synthetic T lymphocytes, or T cells, that are near-perfect facsimiles of human T cells.
The ability to create the artificial cells could be a key step toward more effective drugs to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases and could lead to a better understanding of human immune cells’ behavior. Such cells also could eventually be used to boost the immune system of people with cancer or immune deficiencies.
The research team comprised scientists from the UCLA School of Dentistry, the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and the department of chemistry and biochemistry in the UCLA College, and was led by Dr. Alireza Moshaverinia, an assistant professor of prosthodontics at the dental school. The findings are published in the journal Advanced Materials.
“The complex structure of T cells and their multifunctional nature have made it difficult for scientists to replicate them in the lab,” Moshaverinia said. “With this breakthrough, we can use synthetic T cells to engineer more efficient drug carriers and understand the behavior of immune cells.”
Natural T cells are difficult to use in research because they’re very delicate, and because after they’re extracted from humans and other animals, they tend to survive for only
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