Scientists at Cornell University have created fully synthetic immune organoids capable of generating antibodies on their own.
The immune organoid was developed in the lab of Ankur Singh, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, who applies engineering principles to the study and manipulation of the human immune system.
The big hope is that these organoids will help in the development of new immune therapies to treat a variety of deadly diseases that at the moment have no cure.
The organoids in many aspects were modeled on lymphoid tissue and consist of a hydrogel, nanoparticles, and a seeding of living cells.
They are able to convert antibody producing B cells into germinal centers. These centers are a sort of antibody gene factories that mutate, differentiate, and create the genes that can create the necessary antibodies to fight specific infections.
The scientists can control this process, tweaking how fast the B cells grow, mutate, and activate to fight disease.
Scientists say that these organoids will serve as platforms to study our bodies' immune response and to develop new therapies to attack cancers, HIV and other infectious diseases, or even autoimmune disorders.
"Our system technique can be used to force the production of immunotherapeutics at much faster rates. In the long run, we anticipate that the ability to drive immune reaction ex vivo at controllable rates grants us the ability to reproduce immunological events with tunable parameters for better mechanistic understanding of B cell development and generation of B cell tumors, as well as screening and translation of new classes of drugs," Singh said.
The work was published online June 3 in Biomaterials and will appear later in print.