The Discovery of a Novel Methodology to Isolate Rare T-Cells to treat Auto-immune diseases: How this method is currently being used to combat COVID-19?


Everyday, our bodies are exposed to bacteria in the air we breathe or on surfaces we touch. Fortunately, we have a fast immune system kicking in to combat these interactions. This immune system is composed of many molecules, which includes leukocytes such as B cells and T cells. T-cells, also known as T-lymphocyte, is a white blood cell type essential to the immune system .

Image: How T -Cells Work (Source)

These types of white blood cells tailor the bodies response to specific pathogens. In contrast, B cells are a second type of leukocyte determining specificity of immune response to antigens (foreign substances) in the body.

Recently, a study conducted by scientists at the UCLA- Health Sciences Campus indicates rare T cells can be isolated for treatment of variant diseases such as cancers, viruses and more.The Witte lab conducted a study to develop T-cell therapies for patients suffering from auto-immune diseases like diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The study detailed a new methodology to isolate the T-cells, called CLInt-Seq . It uses an array of old and modern techniques to isolate the T-cells to make plasma and other treatment therapeutics for the conditions under study.

This method allows researchers to distinguish T-cells with receptors of interest from most bystander cells. Then it uses a unique process of chemical adaption to fix the contents of the cells in place by forming bonds between proteins inside each cell and their surroundings via crosslinking. This addresses the issues which have long plagues scientist’s incapable of finding T-cell receptors for treating viral infections.

This application is currently being used by researchers to determine the T-cells combating SARS-CoV-2 aka COVID-19 with plasma. After extracting a small portion of T cells and making a mixture of plasma for individual patient treatment, it can then be used for other patients who’ve been infected with COVID-19 as a treatment.

Presently, the Witte Lab is using CLINt-Seq methodology to study Prostate Cancer and ongoing research for COVID-19. As the medical community continues to fight on through this pandemic, this might shed light on future developments that research has to offer.

-By: Haley Matthews -Intern at Science WeeklyFix

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