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UCLA Research Leads to Creation of Millions of Diverse T Cells from a Single Blood Stem Cell



UCLA CTSI News Archive

UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center/Cell Reports

A section of an artificial thymic organoid showing T cells (outlined in green) created from blood stem cells.

Researchers at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have developed a way to make mouse thymus organoids that can be grown in the lab, each one about 2 millimeters in size.

The advance will enable them to follow the precise path by which T cells—critical players in the immune system—are formed from blood stem cells inside the thymus, a small gland in the middle of the chest.

In 2017, UCLA’s Dr. Gay Crooks and her colleagues developed a lab-grown human thymus organoid—a cluster of cells that mimics the thymus.

Using the organoid, her team—which includes Dr. Christopher Seet, a CTSI KL2 Scholar—was able to coax human blood stem cells to become mature T cells. Now, they’ve repeated the experiments with mouse cells, providing researchers who rely on mouse models a new platform for studying T cells. Crooks’ team showed that a single blood stem cell is enough to generate a large number of mouse T cells of different subtypes and with different functions.

Read the full UCLA press release about their new work published in Cell Reports.

The research was supported in part by UCLA CTSI along with the National Institutes of Health, the Connie Frank and Evan Thompson Program for Collaborative Restorative Transplantation Research and a UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center Rose Hills Foundation Graduate Scholarship.

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