UCLA researchers say they’ve found a way to guide human embryonic stem cells into becoming the T-cells that a body uses to fight diseases. This could be a very important weapon in the fight against AIDS, says biologist Zoran Galic. Galic led the research team that genetically tweaked the stem cells until they evolved into mature T-cells – a form of white blood cell indispensable to human life.
The advance, reported in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, represents the first time that scientists have been able to manipulate human embryonic stem cells in this way.
“These results indicate that it is possible to decipher the signals that control the development of embryonic stem cells into mature T-cells,” said Jerome Zack, the study’s co-author. “That way we can eventually repopulate the immune system in patients needing T-cells.”